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They fill more than stockings

Red Wing Elks volunteers help fill more than 160 Christmas dinner boxes at the Elks Lodge on Saturday. (Photos by Larry Horlitz, contributor)1 / 2
Elks volunteers pose for a photo on Saturday, when they filled boxes with Christmas meal ingredients including turkey, bread and potatoes for local families.2 / 2

For more than 50 years the Red Wing Elks members and friends have gathered on the Saturday before Christmas to assemble and then deliver the fixings for a complete turkey dinner to families in need.

"The need this year has never been greater, and the generosity of our members and donors has risen to new heights to meet it," said Dennis Herling, co-chair and a 39-year participant.

Almost 70 people pitched in on the Elks Christmas Basket Project on Saturday, including the Sheriff's Posse, who helped to deliver some of the 166 baskets to families in and around Red Wing.

"there is no finer holiday tradition for Elks," said co-chair Paul Drotos, who has participated for 32 years. "We are extremely thankful to our members who make this important community service possible."

Other donors include Prairie Island Indian Community (turkeys), Sturdiwheat Foods (Sturdiwheat) and Kwik Trip (bread). Hager Heights Drive-In provides cold storage, Drotos said.