Elks club barbecue raises money for Meriden charities

Elks club barbecue raises money for Meriden charities


MERIDEN — The Meriden Elks welcomed the public to their Jig-n-Pig BBQ music festival fundraiser at their building in downtown.

“It’s a party with a purpose,” said Nate Tencza, a lodge officer, adding that proceeds are donated to charities. “The money that we raise is not something that we take. It’s something we do something with.”

To attract a crowd Saturday, they booked a few local musicians, such as Matt Sperzel and the Matt Zeiner Trio, grilled up free food and held a raffle. Attendees ate around bonfires and picnic tables behind the building while the bands played.

Many of the lodge members in attendance brought family and friends, whom Tencza said he hopes will consider joining.

“Trying to get people involved is the biggest thing,” said Steve Maheu, a lodge officer who organized the festival with his wife, Jennifer Maheu-Sperzel. They hope with more members will come a greater ability to help the Meriden community.

Andrew Mahoney said the lodge gives members a sense of fellowship. He sat with his friend Erik Carlson, who is also a member.

Carlson said he was happy to be able to come out and “hang out with friends, eat some good food, have a good night.”

Sitting on a picnic table listening to the music and speaking to a few of his fellow lodge members, Sal DiMauro said he came to the festival to support the lodge and enjoy time with his friends.

DiMauro recounted how the lodge once donated around $5,000 to a Meriden woman, with no connection to the Elks, after her home burned down.

“It’s a good club, it really is,” he said.

The lodge uses the money it receives from fundraisers and grants from the national branch to help organizations like the city’s homeless shelter.

On a stage near where food was being served, were boxes containing parts for a playground the lodge is putting together for the shelter.

“Meriden’s got something special and we’re a part of it,” said Steve Maheu.


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