Encinitas Elks Lodge donates $2,000 to local Parkinson’s group

An instructor leads a class for the North County Parkinson’s Support Group at the Encinitas Elks Lodge on May 31.
Brittany Woolsey

A local support group can further continue its mission of helping those suffering from Parkinson's disease after the Encinitas Elks Lodge awarded the organization with a $2,000 grant.

For the last year, The North County Parkinson's Support Group has offered exercise and vocal classes for people in the region living with the neurodegenerative disorder. They hold classes and meetings throughout North County, including on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Encinitas Elks Lodge.

Previously, since 2005, the nonprofit organization was part of the Parkinson's Association of San Diego.

On May 31, the Encinitas Elks Lodge presented The North County Parkinson's Support Group with a check for $2,000.

Check presentation
Encinitas Elks board members with Betty Byrd of the North County Parkinson's Support Group. Brittany Woolsey

Betty Byrd, the treasurer of the Parkinson’s group and an Encinitas resident, said the Elks' donation will help sponsor the organization's programs and assist in paying their three certified instructors' salaries. Eventually, she'd like to see the group become funded enough so members don't have to pay. Currently, attendees pay $15 each month.

The Elks National Foundation Nationwide routinely provides grants to its centers to donate to programs for seniors and veterans, said John Bruun, the second-year chairman of the Encinitas Elks Board of Trustees. Nationwide, the organization donates close to $300 million to veterans programs each year and also provides scholarships to local students, Bruun said.

He said the North County Parkinson's Support Group earned the Beacon Grant, which groups can apply for each year, rather than being limited to the award once.

Anyone interested in joining the Parkinson’s support group is encouraged to come to a class at the Encinitas Elks Lodge, 1393 Windsor Road, on a Tuesday or Thursday at 11 a.m., Byrd said.