News from the Front

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Meet your 2016-17 Veteran Volunteers of the Year!

Each year, State Veterans Chairs send us the names of volunteers in their state who’ve gone above and beyond in their service to veterans. This year was no different.

Read about these outstanding volunteers here!

Welcome Home Progress : Two Years In

Two years ago, the Elks launched the Welcome Home program, pledging to help end veteran homelessness. Thanks to a generous 4 year, $4 million grant from the ENF, the program has been able to make a big impact, giving some of our most vulnerable veterans the care, attention and recognition they deserve.

Learn about what we've accomplished so far!

What Happens in Reno . . .

Will you be attending the 2017 Elks National Convention in Reno? Make sure to put these Elks Veterans Service events on your calendar, so you can kick-start your Lodge’s veterans outreach when you return!

Chicago Supply Drive for Homeless Veterans

Attention Chicago-area residents: the Elks are helping to collect supplies for veterans in need. Most of the time, veterans exiting homelessness move into empty homes and can't afford basic supplies. You can help solve this problem! All items collected through this supply drive will help veterans from Jesse Brown VA Hospital establish their new home.

Visit the City of Chicago's webpage for details on drop-off locations.
Check out the flyer for details and then share with your friends!

2016-17 Lodge Veterans Chair Survey Results!

We know our volunteers put in a lot of time. So this year, we reached out to our 2016-17 Lodge Veterans Chairs to get their feedback on how the year went, and how the ENVSC can continue to do its best to serve veterans. Now, the results of that survey are in!

2017-18 ENVSC Budget

The 2017-18 fiscal year is officially here, and the Elks National Veterans Service Commission is excited to kick off another year of serving our nation’s veterans. Thanks to a generous grant from the ENF of nearly $2.6 million, this year we are able to keep our programs going strong, and even expand a few.

Helping Veterans Get Back on the Move

For some veterans and others with disabilities, just getting up and on the move can be a daily struggle. Busted sidewalks, buildings without elevators, and rough terrain can make using a wheelchair difficult.

For some veterans, that struggle continues at home. Building wheelchair ramps can help veterans and others greatly increase their independence.

Sound like something your Lodge could tackle? Check out our new user's guide to building a wheelchair ramp.

Host a Screening of this Veterans Documentary at Your Lodge

Almost Sunrise is a new, feature-length documentary that follows two Iraq veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson as they struggle with--and seek healing from--depression upon returning home from military service. Seeking a lifeline, they embark on a 2,700-mile walk across America as a way to confront their inner pain.

The Almost Sunrise team shares the Elks' passion for serving veterans. They are delighted to bring the film to local Elk Lodges across the country who might use the film for local programming, community building and awareness raising.

History of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission

How long have the Elks been serving veterans? Pretty much since we began!

Ending Veteran Homelessness: How the Elks can Help

In September 2015, the Elks entered into a partnership with the VA. Together, we pledged to end veteran homelessness. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it is possible.

We’re counting on you to inspire and energize your Lodge members to join this fight against veteran homelessness. Your Lodge can be a part of helping these veterans gain access to the safe, stable homes they deserve.

Click here to download the instructional booklet.

2016-17 Freedom Grant Projects

Congratulations to all the Lodges that were awarded Freedom Grants this year! There were more applications than ever before, with a variety of projects focused on serving veterans and military members. Read all about the planned Freedom Grant projects here.

Elks and City of Chicago Partner to Serve Homeless Veterans

The Elks are partnering with the city of Chicago to create an emergency fund for homeless veterans. This fund will help support at least 50 currently homeless veterans secure stable housing.

“The Elks are one of many partners who are stepping up to make sure every Veteran in the City of Chicago has a place to call home,” said City of Chicago Veterans’ Affairs Director Victor Lagroon. Read more about the partnership here!

The Elks' Turn to Serve Monthly E-newsletter

Read past issues of the ENVSC's monthly email newsletter!

“One of the Most Rewarding Things We’ve Done as Elks Members”

Learn about the Welcome Home Kit program from experts at Hopkins Lodge No. 2221 in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota. An interview with members of the lodge shed light on some of the great work they’re doing!

Welcome Home Kits How To

Check out this step-by-step guide on how your lodge can get started on the Welcome Home Kit project. You can help newly housed veterans settle in with all they need to succeed!

ENVSC in Houston

We're back from the 2016 National Convention and it was a success! Here's a quick recap of our time in the Lone Star state.

One Hide at a Time

Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer. For the past ten years, Dennis McAleese has been the Veterans Leather Program Chair. In that time, he's helped thousands of hospitalized and recovering veterans with leather therapy kits, distributed thousands of wheelchair gloves, and recruited volunteers from across the country to donate hides and get involved. Read more about his accomplishments below.

A Lifetime of Dedication

As far as volunteers go, Elks are more dedicated than most. Stewart G. Israel has gone above and beyond what even most Elks do. Read more about his 40 years of serving veterans, which includes 2,700 of serving at the VA.

Hoping to Catch the Big One

Many veterans in assisted living facilities don’t have the chance to get out as much as they’d like, but the Elks at Calabash Lodge No. 2679 in North Carolina are using the Freedom Grant to host an annual “Vet Day at the Lodge,” bringing senior veterans together for a day full of activity and friendship. This year, the special day took place on April 21st, and it was a record breaking event!

Colorado Elks Help Aid Veterans At Stand Down

With an estimated 50,000 veterans living on the streets, veteran homelessness is a year-round issue. With help from the Elks National Veterans Service Commission’s freedom grants, Elks Lodges across the nation can put together a project to help homeless veterans.

Elks Launch Welcome Home Program to Serve Homeless Veterans!

The Elks have joined forces with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help end veteran homelessness.

The Elks National Veterans Service Commission has pledged four million dollars in support over the next four years to ensure the success of this initiative. Along with pledging funds, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission is enlisting the help of their 800,000 members in all 50 states. Together, we can provide the tools and support necessary for homeless veterans to transition successfully into healthier and more stable lives.

Read more!

A Colonie of Support

For the past 22 years, Lou Minion, member of Colonie, N.Y., Lodge No. 2192, has made it a personal mission to reach out to homeless veterans in his community. Along the way, he’s helped hundreds of veterans and built a tradition that involves the whole community.

With the help of the Lodge and community, Minion has held a Stand Down for homeless veterans each year since 1993. Read more about the tradition here.

Sign up for the Elks National Veterans Service Commission Newsletter!

Stay in touch with the ENVSC! This monthly email will include the latest programs updates, resources for serving veterans, news from other Lodges, and more. Click here to subscribe!

New Elks National Veterans Service Commission Logo!

In 2015-16, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission debuted a new logo! This updated logo is designed to better reflect all of the programs that the Elks have to serve veterans and military members.

Click here to download the new logo (in jpg format) and be sure to use it in your communication about veterans projects!

New Policy for Re-Creation Housing

In an effort to streamline our support of the Re-Creation touring group, all housing costs for the group will be billed directly to the ENVSC offices in Chicago. Lodges no longer need to provide any housing support to Re-Creation at the local level.

Lodges are encouraged to use all funds previously earmarked for this cause to support veterans in other ways. For ideas, please visit the Veterans Resources webpage, or visit the Veterans Guidelines webpage.

2015-16 Annual Report

2015-16 was another exciting and successful year, thanks to volunteers like you! Here are a few highlights:

  • Freedom Grants were more popular than ever, with 444 Lodges applying for 180 grants.
  • Elks VAVS volunteers directly served 278,262 veterans in VA and other facilities.
  • The Veterans Leather Program distributed 2,843 pairs of wheelchair gloves and nearly 27,000 square feet of leather to make craft kits for recovering veterans.
  • Our Welcome Home program had a stellar first year, helping 373 veterans prevent or exit homelessness.
You can read the whole report here. We hope you enjoy reading about our work, and we hope you'll join us so we can accomplish even more next year!

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