New Paltz Elks Lodge plans wild feast to raise fund for Wounded Warrior

A wild game dinner to benefit wounded warriors will be held at the New Paltz Elks Lodge on Oct. 20. Pictured are: Ben Coleman, Sandra DiStasi, Elaine Hannon, Leonard Napier, Jim Rhodes, Norman Ronk, Dave Schoonmaker and Lenny Zapka. (photo by Laren Thomas)

In an effort to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org), New Paltz Elks Lodge #2568 has been working around the clock preparing for its third annual Wild Game Dinner slated for Oct. 20.

The New Paltz Elks have always put an emphasis on projects and fundraisers that go to support veterans of war. The proceeds of this Wild Game Dinner will be funneled directly to a returning soldier in the area. “We’re in contact with a veteran in Kingston, because we want the money raised to stay in the community and benefit one of our local returning veterans,” said Elaine Hannon, who knows too well the suffering that veterans of war can endure during active duty and once they return home.

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“My husband passed away due to the effects of Agent Orange he was exposed to while serving in Vietnam,” said Hannon, who is working to help support the Elks in their various projects. “So this is very close to my heart.”

Last year it was a sellout crowd, with 270 game-loving, veteran-supporting people attending the dinner.

The doors open at 2 p.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m. the Elks will serve standard fare: hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage-and-pepper sandwiches. From 4 to 6 p.m., they will fire up those grills for the Wild Game Dinner, which will include, according to Hannon, venison, wildfowl, wild boar, beaver, rabbits, squirrels, trout, bass and bear, to name a few. “There is so much food it’s not even funny,” she said, noting that many Elks members have caught the wild game themselves. The rest comes to them in the form of donations from other hunters.

During the Wild Game Dinner, there will be a bevy of raffles, prizes and a 50/50 drawing. “We have some amazing prizes to be raffled off,” she said. Some of these include firearms, a special donation from the Major League Baseball Association, gift certificates to local restaurants and more.

Elk members Ben Coleman and Dave Schoonmaker are organizing the event, with the help of the local group’s 200-plus membership. “Those two do a lot of the cooking,” said Hannon.

If you’re not a wild-game-lover, no worries. There will also be plenty of pasta, lasagna and salads for those who are not fans of wild meat.

The price of the dinner is $20 a ticket if purchased in advance, $18 for seniors and $25 at the door. To order tickets, just call 255-1633.

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