This Saturday, March 27, is Essential Workers Day, a national initiative of the Elks of Canada to recognize and show appreciation to essential workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At their meeting on March 23, the R.M. of Wallace-Woodworth Council issued a supportive proclamation. “Essential Workers Day recognizes all of the workers and people that have kept our communities safe and moving forward amidst a global pandemic. We are appreciative of all essential workers time, energy and sacrifice to help their fellow community members in times of uncertainty. This day is for them and their efforts.”
In Elkhorn, there will be a drive-by hot dog lunch, free of charge and open to everyone. "We really consider every one of our friends an essential worker (since the pandemic began) and we want to invite you for lunch,” reads a post on the Elkhorn Elks Facebook page. Kevin Tutthill, Past President of the Elks Lodge, said that current public health orders were taken into account as plans came together.
“When we started, we wanted to do a BBQ in the Co-op parking lot, but changed it to a drive through,” he said. Due to COVID-19 health orders, all those attending must remain in their vehicle and everyone in the vehicle must be from the same household. Tutthill stressed that these stipulations will remain in place despite new health orders taking effect on Friday.
The Elks of Canada emphasizes the importance of building a presence in the community, and Elkhorn’s 46-member lodge makes it a priority.
“There’s lots of lodges that aren’t like Elkhorn’s,” Tutthill said. “We’re very involved in the community, but there’s lots that aren’t.”
Although their regular fundraisers and activities have been impacted by the pandemic, technology has worked in their favour, enabling a couple of popular events to continue unabated.
“We’re doing our virtual meat draws on the last Saturday of every month,” Tutthill said. “We started them in November, and are probably bringing in about $1,000 per month. Along with that, we’re having a community 50/50 (draw); 50% of the profits go to the winner and we pick a different community group each month to give the other 50% to. We don’t have the Chase the Ace right now. We miss that because the money’s gone back to our community.”
Tutthill is hoping for even more normalcy as the year progresses. Should public health restrictions permit, there are plans to resume the annual Western Weekend this summer, which brings competitive chuckwagon and chariot racing to the community. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 event had to be called off. With events still few and far between, rental of the Elks Hall for driver training has helped immensely in keeping the bills paid. “That’s been huge,” Tutthill said. “Otherwise, our rentals are basically zero.”