Elks drive-by spreads joy

Drive By Santa and The Crew is not the name of a Christmas rap album. Instead, it was a project by the Elkhorn Elk’s Lodge to create some Christmas cheer in these difficult COVID-19 times when so many traditional events have been cancelled. And it included special cheer for a family within the community.

In past years the Elks, in conjunction with the village Christmas season light-up, hold a Santa movie with their famous free popcorn and drinks, followed by a surprise visit from Santa and a treat bag. But all of that was cancelled because of the COVID. So, Santa and the Elks club mascot decided to drive the village streets to give out treat bags with the help of two of Santa’s helpers.

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Santa, in his wisdom, used two trucks that his helpers decorated with Christmas lights and great music, to keep them all safe from infection. The trucks were on loan to Santa and the crew from Tutthill Construction of Elkhorn.

Just after dusk on Dec.19 the trucks headed out as young and old were waiting for drive-by Santa on their front porches, driveways or in vehicles parked along the streets.

 It was a perfect evening for the event, not too cold, and colorful Christmas lights on many homes added to the holiday mood. The extra touch in parts of the village was the smell of woodsmoke from stoves.

The floats made a special stop at the village seniors’ home where residents waved back from their windows to Santa. All along the route people cheered and clapped for Santa and vehicles beeped their horns in support.

The Elks were busy that day. That afternoon they held their weekly meat draw and 50/50 ticket sale, a virtual event online. In the 50/50 event, a local resident won $450 and the Elks decided to match that amount to make a donation to the skating rink.

After an hour on the road making Christmas magic real for both children and adults, the group had one more special stop - the home of Adam and Lara Camile and their son Jerrod. The Camiles are a new family to the community and have become an active part of the community fabric in both work and play. Recently, due to a combination of COVID-19 and the economic slowdown in many small businesses, along with a federal government delay in the renewal of Adam Camile’s temporary work visa, he was unemployed. It’s a bad situation for many in Canada and Christmas makes it even harder for those families.

The Elkhorn Elks Club is known for having some great Christmas parties. But, with no party this year, the membership decided to take those funds, plus a few extra donations, and make a presentation to the Camile family.

When Santa and the crew arrived at the Camile home, they were joined by Elks Lodge leader Wanda Rhodes who presented a donation, a gift and a traditional Christmas hamper to the family. The Camile family was overwhelmed by the kindness and a few tears were shed.

Adam Camile said he was impressed by the kindness of the community to his family and hoped that his work visa issues will soon be solved, as a new resident to Canada with his family.

© Virden Empire-Advance