The Puyallup Elks Club will host its annual free Easter egg hunt at 12:15 p.m. March 31 at 314 27th St. Northeast.
Children 12 and younger are invited to participate in areas roped off into age groups. Prizes will be awarded, and juice and cookies served.
In addition, a buffet brunch will be held from 9 a.m. to noon before the event. The cost is $10, $5.50 for children 6 and younger. The menu will include pancakes and French toast.
Melissa Bellinger, chair of the event, has been a member of the Puyallup Elks since November. She said she wanted to jump right in and get involved.
“I’ve always wanted to belong to a group like the Elks,” said Bellinger, who owns and operates the Maplewood Barber Shop. “They give back to the community, and, as a businesses owner, I wanted to get more involved in the community.”
Bellinger has contacted businesses for prizes and donations.
“The community has been very generous,” she said.
Bob LaBrash, a longtime Elks member and lodge secretary, said the group is run by volunteers.
The Elks location was up for sale for a time, but when that didn’t happen, LaBrash said they worked to help it survive.
“I had a listing for the building, and the sale fell through, and we are trying to save it now,” he said. “We have one leg in the grave, and we’re digging out.”
The lodge had 1,500 members in 1996, LaBrash said, and now they have 550.
The egg hunt is just one way the club connects with the community.
“The Elks tradition is to give back to the children of the community,” LaBrash said.
Steve Scholz, the club’s Exalted Ruler, said their major event is to sponsor 14 physical therapists who travel throughout the state to help children who can’t get to see one elsewhere.
Another program comes through the Elks National Foundation.
“For every dollar that we raise and send in to them, $1.83 comes back to us, and we use that money to award many different types of scholarships for students,” LaBrash said.
“We would like to get out there and let the community know what an impact it would be if this organization goes away,” he said.
For more information about the Puyallup Elks or the egg hunt, call 253-845-9515.Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.