ELYRIA — There were red and green decorations and even a Santa Claus or two … in July.
The Elyria Elks Lodge 465 got into the Christmas spirit Friday night by holding its first Christmas in July event to benefit the Not-Forgotten Box, an annual toy drive sponsored by The Chronicle-Telegram and Elyria Salvation Army.
Attendees brought Christmas gifts and all proceeds from a Chinese white elephant raffle — gifts were wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper — went to the Not-Forgotten Box.
Organizers estimated that about 75 toys and at least $900 were donated.
The Elk’s Exalted Ruler Kristen Barney is the brainchild behind the idea. She is an annual supporter of the Not-Forgotten Box.
“We are huge supporter because that toy drive keeps things in the community,” said Laura Murray, lodge secretary. “Every Christmas we give to the Not-Forgotten Box.”
The Elks has started early, but others still can donate. The Not-Forgotten Box drive kicks off in mid-November and runs until mid-December. All money and toys donated are given to the Elyria Salvation Army, which aims to help 1,000 families have a happy holiday. Gifts for children and a food basket are given to each family.
Christmas assistance is given only to families who fit certain criteria and signups are usually in October. For more information, call the Elyria Salvation Army at (440) 323-2026.