WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Elks Lodge 1105 on Seymour Highway has played a vital role in the community for decades by playing host to area non-profits.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.
“Everything we do here is going back into the community, and of course keeping the doors open, which allows us to help the community,” Foster Meadors, Inner Guard of Elks Lodge said.
The doors of the Wichita Falls Elks Lodge 1105 have been opened for many years, serving as a safe haven and a place of fellowship and to grab a hot meal.
Every Wednesday night, they are open to the public for dinner.
“I think that’s what we’re missing right now in this country,” Meadors said. “People are not fellowshipping and communicating anymore. It gives you time to sit down with food and you can actually talk and communicate with a stranger. And believe me, there are some really friendly folks here.”
Kenneth French, a trustee of the Wichita Falls Elks Lodge, said all of the money raised at these public dinners goes to assist children in some way.
“Our local lodge in Wichita Falls, lodge 1105, we have a 25,000 square foot facility that we use for charities to help other organizations, to help children in need and we also have direct giving programs that we do through our local lodge,” French said.
The Lodge also brings the man power to several popular charity events.
“Our biggest asset is the time and the muscle we can put behind an event,” French said. “So we provide a facility. We do our due diligence with the charity and support them. We grew things like Boot Scootin’ Boogie and North Texas Rehab. They all started here in the Elks Lodge.”
“It’s not about showboating here,” Meadors said. “It’s about doing what’s right, improving the community and educating as well.”
French said investing in the community became harder when donations started to decrease over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The level of decrease was monumental. It was 85 percent off of what we do in a normal year,” French said. “We were fortunate that we were able to go to the state organization and get a little support for a special needs event where we were able to donate $27,000 to a young man that was having surgery coming up this week.”
Hearing stories like that and being a part of the solution are what Meadors said pulls at his heartstrings.
“I’m retired military so we’ve always been provided for,” Meadors said. “But being here in Wichita Falls only two years, I’ve seen families who have really been in need and this organization has stepped up.”
Helping families, the community and local charities are the three pillars of The Lodge that they hope to continue to provide to Wichita Falls.
Wednesday night meals begin at 6 p.m. with food served at 6:30 and continuing until everyone is fed.
The meal costs $12.