Perry’s Elks organization donated both gift and food baskets to veterans as well as those in need on Christmas Eve. This year, over 100 gift baskets and 40 food baskets were given during the holiday season.

The veterans-based program derives from a compilation of donations gathered throughout the year and is an annual tradition with the Elks.

“It’s a great program,” said Greg Haglund, head of the Veterans program. “What we found is just being able to go out and talk to those vets who don’t have a lot of interaction with people anymore.”

“It’s interesting [all of] the stories you get [to hear], all of the old stories from what they served in.”

The program has grown, Haglund says.

Haglund contacts nursing homes ahead of time around early December to figure out how many veterans are located at each facility.

Originally the program started with just focusing on visiting veterans in the Perry area, but has since expanded to Dallas Center, Granger, Ogden and Madrid.

“We do the fundraising throughout the year,” Haglund said about the items placed in the baskets.

Stores around Perry have donated to the baskets, including Tyson and Fareway, Haglund says.

“We appreciate all of the information we get, it’s tough to get the names out for the families in need,” Haglund said. “We appreciate the service from everybody.”