2017-11-19 / Insight

Tradition marks 25th year

Elk’s Lodge serves free family-style holiday dinner
BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


The Elks of Lapeer Lodge No. 2567 have been collecting food donations from members in preparation of the group’s upcoming free community Thanksgiving feast, and Elks (from left) Al Grossbauer, Gary Dixon, Jo Grossbauer and Richard Tomasi will soon get to work preparing the meal. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese The Elks of Lapeer Lodge No. 2567 have been collecting food donations from members in preparation of the group’s upcoming free community Thanksgiving feast, and Elks (from left) Al Grossbauer, Gary Dixon, Jo Grossbauer and Richard Tomasi will soon get to work preparing the meal. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese LAPEER — For many, Thanksgiving is a time to come together with family, share a good meal and enjoy each other’s company. But family is what you make of it, and for 25 years on Thanksgiving, for the members of Lapeer’s Elks Lodge No. 2567, family is whoever walks through the clubhouse doors.

For a quarter-century, the Elks of Lapeer have provided a free, no-judgment, family-style Thanksgiving feast for all comers at their Lodge on 200 E. Nepessing Street, and this year is no different. The Lodge is currently preparing to once again feed anyone who comes by, and according to Exalted Ruler Al Grossbauer, the hope is that this year will attract even more visitors. “Last year we fed 234 people, and this year we’ll get even more hopefully,” said Grossbauer. “It’s become a tradition.”

Chartered in 1977, Lapeer’s Elks Lodge No. 2567 has 197 members and has been in its current building since its inception, and while it may be the smallest Lodge in the Metro District — a grouping that also features Lodges in Ferndale, Clawson, Royal Oak, Rochester and Port Huron — the members support several community and veterans causes throughout the Lapeer area. “We may be the smallest,” said Grossbauer with a laugh. “But we do the most.”

Next week’s Thanksgiving dinner, though, is the highlight. “We try to break it apart throughout the year, but this is our big project,” he said. “Other (organizations) do things for Christmas, but we like to help out for Thanksgiving.”

All food is donated by Lodge members and prepared by volunteers, and already the Lodge has stockpiled enough food for a considerable feast.

“We’ve got about 20-25 turkeys already, and we’re expecting more,” said Grossbauer. “All the food is prepared on Wednesday, and on Thanksgiving, we serve the people who come — and it’s family-style. We don’t do cafeteria style.”

This year’s meal is once again at the Lodge on Nepessing Street, from 1-3 p.m. And once again, the members of the Lodge have come through with ample donations, thanks to a signup sheet that Grossbauer said fills up very quickly with volunteers. “The whole thing’s funded strictly through Lodge members,” he said.

According to Grossbauer, anyone is welcome, regardless of background. The meal is just a way for the Elks to ensure that anyone who might otherwise miss out on a traditional Thanksgiving experience has the opportunity. “It’s free, open to the public, anyone who doesn’t have family or any company can come on by, or anyone who just wants a good meal,” said Grossbauer. “They’re treated like royalty, the more the merrier, as far as we’re concerned.”

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