Following a successful first attempt at donating to local charities during the Christmas season, the Prineville Eagles have decided to do it again.
The local fraternal organization has again chosen five Crook County organizations to donate money to this holiday season. They include the Shop with a Cop program, MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, the Holiday Partnership, Cancer Prayer Bags and the Family Access Network.
Eagles member Karen George, who has joined fellow Eagle Brad Johnson in spearheading the 2020 effort, said that the selections are intended to benefit local kids as much as possible. Shop with a Cop involves children joining law enforcement staff on a shopping trip for loved ones each holiday season, and Holiday Partnership provides needy children and their families with a free holiday meal and Christmas presents to brighten their holiday. MountainStar Family Relief Nursery works with vulnerable families to keep children safe from abuse and neglect, while Family Access Network connects families with crucial resources to keep them healthy and in school.
George stressed that everybody is suffering this year as they weather the COVID pandemic and kids in particular are facing difficult times because of it.
"The kids suffer when everyone else is suffering," she said. "They are the first ones to get hurt by it."
Johnson added that the donations are representative of their motto, "People helping people."
"What we want to do is let the community know that we're here and we do help in the community by donating back to these charities."
In addition to the charitable donations, the Eagles have a virtual giving tree. People are invited to go to the Eagles' website and choose a virtual gift tag. Those gifts can be dropped off at the lodge for members to later deliver to recipients.
Last year, when the Eagles first launched their holiday donation program, they had benefited from a successful food booth at the Crooked River Roundup Horse Races. Proceeds from that fundraiser helped fund the holiday donations.
This year, the horse races were canceled, and the Eagles missed out on the food booth as a revenue generator. But Johnson and other Eagles leaders were pleasantly surprised by an influx of member-generated income. Thanks to that source, they have $4,000 to give away this year.
"It's all participation from our members who come into our lodge," he said. "Nobody knows why we had so much money coming into the lodge this year without being able to do our fundraisers."
Johnson could not recall the exact number of current Eagles members in Prineville, but conservatively estimated the number is probably north of 350.
The recipients of the charitable donations have been notified, although the Eagles started the program later than normal, so they have not yet determined how much each entity will receive or when they will get it.
Nevertheless, the Eagles are pleased that they can continue the program, particularly during a time when so many things are limited. And they hope this year won't be the last.
"Hopefully, it will be an annual thing," Johnson concluded.
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