Last month, the Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Auxiliary collected more than $2,100 for homeless veterans, whom in many cases are disabled, veterans and their families.
The Auxiliary, American Legion members, community members and families purchased printed cards that are displayed at the Legion.
The Vietnam Motorcycle Group stopped at the Legion again, with more than 100 motorcycles roaring into the parking lot at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. This was the ninth year of the ride, and the Legion has been the largest single contributor to this group. Steve Eisenreick organizes this event each year.
This year the money will be distributed between the St. Cloud VA Homeless Fund and the Minnesota Auxiliary Homeless Fund.
The Auxiliary’s main purposes are supporting veterans, troops and community. The group donates clothes, quilts and sewing items for hospitals along with money donations.
The Auxiliary works together with the Legion as a team to help veterans and the community. Many volunteer hours are given not only by members but also non-members for the Legion to support these programs.
Packages are sent each year to troops in Afghanistan. In honor of Veterans Day, area veterans receive a meal at the Crosslake Community Center.
Youth and children are a big part of the organization. Eight scholarships of $500 each were given to students at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus schools. The annual Bake Sale, Cookie Walk and Bazaar, which includes a raffle, helps fund scholarships. This year’s event is Dec. 1, and tickets are being sold now.
The Auxiliary sends a boy and a girl to Girls’ and Boys’ State yearly. This year’s participants were from the Crosslake area.
Another upcoming event is Breakfast with Santa from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Legion. Children in the community will get a chance to talk to Santa and fish in the fish pond to receive a free gift.
In May, the Auxiliary distributes poppies to the community. All proceeds go to the needs of veterans and their families. The Auxiliary thanks local merchants who let members distribute poppies at their businesses.
The Legion hosts funeral meals and wedding receptions during the year. Card groups go there to enjoy a game of cards, as well as refreshments.
The Legion Color Guard presents families with a flag for the service the deceased gave to his or her country. On Memorial Day, a ceremony takes place at the local cemetery, and all names of deceased veterans in this area are read. They are buried at Crosslake or at Camp Ripley.
The Auxiliary and Legion thank everyone for the support throughout the years that have allowed the groups to accomplish the many things they have.