During the month of November and the first week of December customers of the Dollar Tree stores in Caribou and Presque Isle were asked if they wished to purchase a toy for children of current military personnel and veterans. Those donated items were collected for weekly pickups by the Presque Isle Elks, Lodge #1954, at the Caribou and Presque Isle stores. Over that limited period of time, the customers at those Dollar Tree stores donated a total of twelve thousand (12,000) items.
Members of Presque Isle Elks Lodge #1954 transported, stored, sorted and assembled those twelve thousand items for selection by current military personnel or their significant others, as well as military veterans and their spouses.
Soldiers from the United States Army National Guard 185th Engineering Support Battalion and their significant others were able to select items for their children, grandchildren, and other family members beginning Sunday, December 8, 2019, at the Presque Isle Elks Lodge at 508 Main Street in Presque Isle. According to Captain Dustin Cook, commander of the 185th Battalion from Caribou, Maine, “The generosity of the Dollar Tree customers in Caribou and Presque Isle and their demonstration of support and appreciation for the sacrifices of current military personnel, and their families, as well as military veterans, was absolutely amazing. It means a lot to our families, especially at this time of year.”
Alan Harding, Exalted Ruler of the Presque Isle Elks, Lodge #1954, said, “The Presque Isle Elks were truly honored to have been able to play a role in Operation Homefront. Twelve thousand items of toys represents a substantial volume. Through the efforts of several members of Elks Lodge #1954, as well as students from the Loring Job Corps military preparedness class under the direction of Carl Smith and Roger Felix, those toys were stored, sorted and displayed in order that selection could be made by the military personnel, their spouses, and military veterans. Ultimately, all of the donated toys were distributed to military personnel, veterans, Toys for Tots, and other local charities. It was truly a heart-warming endeavor for the Presque Isle Elks of Lodge #1954 to have been involved.”