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Watertown Elks Lodge gives $23,000 to local nonprofit agencies

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The north country nonprofit community is $23,000 richer thanks to Elks Lodge 496 and supporters of its Queen of Hearts raffle.

During a luncheon Friday at the lodge, 728 Bradley St., 23 nonprofits were awarded $1,000 each. Timothy E. Kelly, Elks Lodge member who was in charge of the raffle, said that since the community supported the raffle by buying tickets, the lodge wanted to give back to it.

“We’re here to help,” he said. “The Elks is dedicated mainly to youth, veterans and senior citizens.”

Michael R. Forcier, Watertown Elks exalted ruler, thanked nonprofit representatives in attendance for also giving back to the community.

“Our grand exalted ruler has a saying that’s you, and it’s called ‘Beacon of Hope,’” he said. “Each of you are a beacon of hope.”

Agencies that benefited included: AIDS Community Resources, Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross of Northern New York, Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, Hospice of Jefferson County, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, Meals on Wheels, North Country Children’s Clinic and Northern Regional Center for Independent Living.

The list continued with Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York, Rotary Purple Heart Scholarship program, Resolution Center of Jefferson and Lewis Counties, Watertown Salvation Army, Watertown Urban Mission, Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County, Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions, North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council, Volunteer Transportation Center of Jefferson County, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Jefferson County and the Wounded Warrior Project, Fort Drum.

“The Queen of Hearts here was started five years ago, and this was our biggest one,” Mr. Kelly said. “We raised $200,000.”

There was a top prize of $50,000 and the remaining $127,000 went to the Elks Lodge for operational expenses and maintenance improvements.

Mr. Kelly said raffle tickets are sold at $1 each first to Elks members and then to the community. Each week of the raffle, one ticket is drawn. A card is turned, and if it’s the queen of hearts, the ticket-holder wins 60 percent of the pot, but no more than $50,000, in accordance with state guidelines.

Anyone who would like to purchase tickets can stop by the lodge, Mr. Kelly said. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, unless it’s a meeting night, and then the lodge is open until 11 p.m.; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays.

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