Over $100,000 was raised for the families of wounded and fallen soldiers at the State Elks Association’s seventh annual Army of Hope event held on Sept. 11 at the Lacey Elks Lodge.
“The event was held to pay tribute and show support for our Fallen Heroes, our Wounded Warriors and their families, and the brave members of the armed forces from New Jersey for their dedication and sacrifice in defending our freedoms,” spokesperson Jeffrey Hein said.
The event typically raises approximately $100,000 annually but Rich Tabachuck, Chairman of the State Elks was hoping to raise enough to donate $1,000 to the 128 families of fallen New Jersey soldiers.
With more than 1,200 people from across the state, including 150 military family members, attending the Army of Hope picnic, over $120,000 was raised.
The Elks most recently donated $1,800 to families of fallen soldiers so they can prepare for the new school year, Tabachuck said.
“We wanted them to go back to school with everything they needed,” he said.
The numbers keep growing, he said. Twenty-two wounded soldiers and 10 families of soldiers who were killed in the line of duty recently approached the organization.
When the Elks began providing for these families they hoped to offer some financial assistance and relief but they have been able to help pay off mortgages, Tabachuck said.
“Every penny goes to the troops,” he said.
To date, the Army of Hope committee has raised over one million dollars.
For more information on the Elks, visit the website.