Last weekend, Hawthorne’s Elks Lodge #1704 hosted its annual Crab Crack and was able to raise around $6,000 for the community while providing good food, raffles, a silent auction, and lots of fun to Mineral County neighbors and friends.
“We exceeded our expectations this year,” says Elks Lodge member and spokesperson Tom Gallegos. He explains that the Elks Lodge has been building this Crab Crack event for many years, and usually sells around 120 tickets to attend the AYCE seafood event on either Friday or Saturday. In the past few years, sales have been down because of covid, but this year the Elks Lodge sold 140 tickets- hosting 70 people per night. The Elks served 125 pounds of crab last Friday night (March 11) and 175 pounds the following night, bought from the Sierra Gold distributors in Reno.
The philanthropic organization also received more than 80 items to raffle or auction off from a wide range of local businesses.
Elks USA has been around since 1868, helping provide places for families to share meals, neighbors can come together, and children can grow up in a safe, healthy environment. Every year, Elks Lodge #1704 in Hawthorne gives out two $500 scholarships and sponsors the Hoop Shoot, a free throw program where kids ages 7-12 can enter a basketball contest. The best shooters advance to regionals in Las Vegas and then to the championship taking place on the East Coast. The Elks Lodge helps kids pay for their lodging, meals, and entry fees in their quest for the championship.
“The Elks pay for everything,” Gallegos says. “They do a lot for the community; every Christmas we give away baskets of food for whoever needs it,” he adds, mentioning that last year they donated 118 baskets of food to people, each complete with a ham, a turkey, and all of the fixings. The Hawthorne Elks Lodge chapter also donates thousands of dollars annually to the Boys & Girls Club, CAHS (Consolidated Agencies of Human Services), the Little League, and high school. Also acting as the maintenance director for the school district, Gallegos says the Elks often work hand in hand with the schools.
“Our number one thing is the kids…and we also give every third grader a brand-new dictionary every year,” says Gallegos.
Along with all the crab you can eat, the March 11-12 Crab Crack sold fresh oysters, shrimp cocktails, baked potatoes, bread, and more. They never ran out of food…Gallegos says that they kept serving people food until they couldn’t eat any more.
This year’s Crab Crack also featured a 50/50 drawing, an auction, and raffles with prizes donated from vendors in Hawthorne. People paid upwards of $200 for homemade blankets and named their price for a Craftsman toolbox donated from Ace Hardware, brand-new pots, pans, and kitchenware, and big print wall hangings. During the raffle, attendees won free night stays and dinners at the El Capitan, free haircuts and salon days, deals on mechanical work from local automotive shops.
“They all support us so we can in turn help the community. All these vendors donate because they know what we do and that everything we raise stays in Mineral County,” Gallegos says.
The Crab Crack also helps the local Boy Scouts.
“The Boy Scouts serve the crab and clean up afterwards. They present the flag (before the feast), say a prayer, and during the event they pass a bowl around for donations. I think they raised $1200 in the two nights. This event gives them spending money for when they go on camps or retreats. It’s a win-win for them and for us,” Gallegos adds.
For more information about the Elks Lodge #1704, visit www.elks. org/.