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Moose lodge spreads goodwill to unsuspecting food shoppers

by on December 21, 2013 11:00 AM

CLYMER — In the 1950s TV show, “The Millionaire,” a mysterious benefactor who never appeared on the screen indulged himself by having his assistant deliver $1 million each to people he’d never met.

Bobbie Hopkins, of Commodore, got to play a scaled-down yuletide version of that gig Friday.

[PHOTO: Members of the Dixonville Moose sang Christmas carols Friday at Rustic Manor retirement facility, where resident Gladys Hilty, of Indiana, enjoyed the show.  (James J. Nestor/Gazette photo)]

Hopkins waited inside Tate’s supermarket in Clymer with her pocket stuffed with $1,000 in cash and offered to pay the check-out grocery bills for random customers.

By 2 o’clock she had surprised eight lucky shoppers and picked up tabs ranging from $39 to $180.

She planned to repeat the Christmas treat with another $1,000 later in the day at the Giant Eagle market in White Township.

The money was supplied by the Dixonville Moose, one of the lodges in the Loyal Order of Moose family fraternity.

“We do different things to give back to the community” each year, said Hopkins, a member of the Dixonville lodge. The cash comes from members’ annual dues and fundraisers held throughout the year.

In past Christmas seasons the lodge made large financial donations to one or two deserving families. This year it was decided to help a larger number of people by spreading the money around a little more.

Hopkins said the initial reaction she got from some surprised shoppers was, “Excuse me?”

Then she’d repeat her offer: “If it doesn’t offend you, the Dixonville Moose would like to pay your bill as a Christmas gift.”

“It was kind of awkward at first,” Hopkins said. “I’ve been getting all ‘thank yous’ and smiles,” although one shopper did turn down her offer.

Hopkins said she tried to make her selections as random as possible, and approached young shoppers and old shoppers with grocery orders large and small.

“It’s been fun,” she said.

In addition to the $2,000 distributed in the grocery stores, The Dixonville Moose also gave 50 Christmas dinner certificates to the Marion Center Area, Penns Manor and Purchase Line school districts. School officials were to distribute those vouchers to families in their districts who need a helping hand this Christmas. Those certificates can be redeemed today at Tate’s in Clymer.

Hopkins said the Dixonville Moose has about 480 members.



Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is rwells@indianagazette.net.
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