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An OVERVIEW of the BENEVOLENT & PROTECTIVE ORDER OF ELKS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Great organizations don’t just happen. They evolve from sound, visionary leadership, a willingness to change what needs to be changed, and the commitment to safeguard those guiding principles most critical to organizational success. Committed to patriotism and charity, the Elks have now disbursed nearly $5 billion in cash, goods and services to the nation’s youth, veterans, the disadvantaged and handicapped, victims of disaster, and in support of patriotic and civic programs.

Most organizations have a primary goal and objective. In contrast, the Elks support just about every community and national program that helps those in need and often contribute to the success of programs sponsored by other organizations. Elks support and contribute regularly to schools, Veterans’ organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, police, fire departments and emergency services. Elks assist the young and the needy throughout this great nation.

Non-sectarian and non-political, drawing its members from all sections, all denominations, and
from all political parties, the Order has always been a medium through which those of  differing creeds and political affiliations and sectional viewpoints would reach a better  understanding of each other.

With its record of war service, its benefactions, freely and impartially bestowed, its tolerance and good fellowship, and its all-pervading spirit of good will, the Order makes an irresistible  appeal to men and women who love their country and welcome the opportunity to serve in their communities.

Elks Lodges throughout America provide ongoing support of our veterans. We also are  helping families of our men and women serving in our nation’s military through the Elks Army of Hope and USO programs, providing needed support services as well as financial assistance.  Nationwide, Elks live up to their motto, “So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them!”

Remember our Veterans. “All Gave Some, Some Gave All!”

Elks and Community Service

The Order of Elks was originally founded in 1868 to serve their communities and to help those less fortunate in time of need. Our dedication to community service is the driving force behind the success of our many programs.

With more than 2,000 Lodges in communities across the nation, Elks offer many no-cost programs that help schools to provide a better education and more opportunities to enrich the lives of students.

At an Elks Hoop Shoot® Free Throw Contest, local lodges work in cooperation with elementary or middle schools to create a no-cost competition that’s fierce, but fun. Since its origin in 1946, the Elks Hoop Shoot® has grown to include more than three
million
participants annually, making it the largest co-educational sports program in the country.

Based on a concept similar to the Elks Hoop Shoot® contests, the Soccer Shoot is an excellent program to teach the correct techniques needed to excel at playing soccer. With no-cost local competitions beginning in the fall open to boys and girls under the age of 14, the Elks Soccer Shoot has developed into an outstanding Elks sports program.

Patriotism & U.S. History

Educating students about U.S. history and helping them develop a sense of patriotism is another way Elks are helping schools. Local Elks Lodges provide teachers and classrooms with U.S. Flags, replicas of important historic documents and Pledge of Allegiance kits, all at no cost. In addition, the Elks sponsor an annual Americanism Essay Contest for fifth through eighth graders. This free contest gives students a chance to creatively express their patriotism and compete for savings bonds.

Elks Lodges help students outside the classroom by supporting Boys and Girls Clubs; 4-H programs; youth athletics including Little League, football and soccer teams; debate and speech programs; fine arts contests; and other local youth organizations.

Many Lodges sponsor Scout Troops and offer their Lodges as meeting places. Many state Elks Associations and local lodges offer additional programs and summer camps for children with special needs.

Drug Awareness & Prevention

The Elks Drug Awareness Program provides schools and communities with information such as coloring books for younger children and educational materials for older youth, to help  encourage them to make smart and healthy lifestyle choices. Each year, Lodges sponsor drug awareness poster and essay contests that can be used in schools as well as regularly host or sponsor drug and alcohol-free dances and graduation parties. These no-cost programs and free learning materials are available to schools and communities through the local Lodge.

The Dictionary Project,

supported by Elks lodges nationwide, is receiving overwhelming acceptance and support by teachers, students, parents and school administrators. Our goal is to reach as many children as possible with educational materials that will help them make the right decisions.

“The Dictionary Project has spread throughout all fifty states plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It’s exciting to watch the Project catch on and inspire so many people. Thank you, Elks, for introducing the Dictionary Project nation-wide to your members. Thousands of children benefit from the tireless efforts of your members and we are pleased that you have joined us in encouraging children to use a dictionary so that they will be able to use the  English language effectively.”

Mary L. French, Dictionary Project Director

Most Valuable Student Scholarship Program

The Elks National Foundation is committed to building a better future and annually awards more than $2.96 million in college scholarships to 500 school seniors nationwide through its Most Valuable Student Program. Any high school senior who is a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply. The top awards range from $60,000 to $8,000 over four years. The Foundation also awards 484 additional $4,000 scholarships annually.

“Elks are special people!”

A sixth-grade student familiar with the Elks Hoop Shoot, Dictionary Project, Soccer Shoot, Americanism Essay Contest and Drug Awareness Program in her school wrote to the local Lodge about a very frightening and painful situation at home. She concluded her letter with a plea…

“I don’t know who else to turn to.
...Elks are special people.
...Please help me!”

The Lodge was able to assist this child, as lodges across America do every day. To many children, veterans, victims of disaster, and others in need, Elks are indeed Special People!

“No one stands so tall as when bending over to help a child.”

Of all the fascinating and interesting places to visit in Bedford, Virginia, the Elks National Home and Retirement Center, first established in 1903 for Elks members, is definitely a center of attraction, especially at Christmas time. Thousands of visitors drive through the grounds during the Christmas season to witness the outstanding displays of colored lights and decorations.

Elks National Home residents are all proud members of Elks National Home Lodge No. 8081. They actively support many charitable, veterans, youth and other community programs including the Dictionary Project. Nearly 40% of Elks National Home residents are U.S. Veterans. Many are decorated heroes.

The Elks National Home can be reached by phone at 540-586-8232 or
1-800-552-4140 or by Email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

God Bless America

Throughout the history of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks there have been many famous members including business and political leaders, sports figures and entertainment celebrities.

The song “God Bless America” was written by one of America’s greatest songwriters, Irving Berlin, and was introduced on national radio by Kate Smith during her weekly Kate Smith Hour on November 10, 1938, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. The song was heard by millions of radio listeners.

What most people do not realize is that Irving Berlin was an Elk. Theatrical producer Harry
Hirshfeld sponsored Berlin, who was 40 years of age at the time of his initiation, into New York Lodge #1. Berlin remained a proud Elk up to the time of his death at the age of 104.

Like Elks members then and now, Irving Berlin had no desire to cash in on his patriotism. In 1940 he established the God Bless America Foundation with all royalties from the song and its performance earned by either Berlin or Miss Smith going to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. That arrangement exists to this day because, “The complete  nonsectarian work of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is calculated to best promote unity of mind and patriotism, two sentiments that are inherent in the song itself.

Irving Berlin proudly demonstrated long ago ...
Elks Care - Elks Share
God bless our Veterans,
God Bless the men and women serving in our military,
and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Elks and Patriotism

The Order of Elks is committed to promoting the patriotic principles of individual freedom,  opportunity, and dignity. In 1907, Elks members adopted a resolution which designated June 14 as Flag Day. In 1911, the Grand Lodge mandated that all local Lodges observe Flag Day with appropriate ceremonies, making the Elks the first national fraternal organization to require the observance of Flag Day. On August 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman, himself an Elks member, designated June 14 as Flag Day by signing an act of Congress.

Freedom Is Not Free

BY 1988 AIR FORCE JUNIOR ROTC CADET MAJOR KELLY STRONG

I watched a flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young marine saluted it, and then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform, so young, so tall, so proud.
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil,
How many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down? How many died at sea?
How many died on foreign soil?
No, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

I heard the sound of taps one night
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play and felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant, “Amen!”
When a flag had draped a coffin of a relative or friend.

I thought of all the children, of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands, with interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard at the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No! FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a proud
member of the Citizens Flag Alliance which supports legislation
prohibiting physical desecration of the Flag of the United States.

Title Filter     Display # 
# Article Title Author Hits
1 Mothers Day Letter James (Jamie) Otis Montgomery 1606
2 Elks Memorial Service James (Jamie) Otis Montgomery 3401
3 Veterans Grand Lodge 1739
4 God Bless America Grand Lodge 1527
5 Flag Day Grand Lodge 1525
6 Elks and our Nations Youth Grand Lodge 1328
7 Elks and Community Service Grand Lodge 1666
8 Elks Dictionary Project Grand Lodge 1981
 

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