A CIP Celebration of Veterans
On Memorial Day, our country salutes veterans—and through the CIP, Elks activate charitable projects to serve them.

Lodges use CIP grants to serve the veteran community in as many ways as there are different needs. From Stand Downs to nature outings, from hunger relief to medical support, Elks Lodges are always there to go beyond saying “thank you” to local veterans.

Three of the project plans under the Spotlight Grant specifically focus on supporting veterans experiencing homelessness. Newport News, Va., Lodge No. 315 chose the Welcome Home project plan, assembling 15 kits of household items for veterans transitioning out of homelessness. While the V.A. can secure housing for veterans experiencing homelessness, it relies on organizations like the Elks to provide the things that turn a house into a home. The Newport News Lodge heard this call and provided cookware, utensils, bath towels, laundry detergent, and many more items to welcome veterans to their new homes.

Stand Downs are events, often put on by the V.A., that provide supplies, services, and resources to veterans experiencing homelessness. Merced, Calif., Lodge No. 1240 chose the Stand Down project plan under the Spotlight Grant, cooking and serving food for the 250 veterans in attendance. Along with the lunch, the Lodge also provided soap, shampoo and other hygiene items.

The Adopt-a-Haven project plan is meant to connect Lodges with shelters or transitional living facilities specifically for veterans and develop a lasting relationship. This can take the form of a series of social events for the residents or as upgrades to the facility. Ocean Springs, Miss., Lodge No. 2501 used a Spotlight Grant to support the residents of a transitional V.A. facility, hosting outings to museums and providing clothing to residents.

But veteran support goes beyond the Spotlight Grant—both the Beacon and Gratitude Grants are often used for veterans causes. North Las Vegas, Nev., Lodge No. 2353 recognized that not every veteran qualifies for dental benefits through the V.A., so it used a Beacon Grant to cover the costs of dentures for 10 veterans, while also donating the hygiene supplies necessary to keep them in good condition. Lusk, Wyo., Lodge No. 1797 used its Gratitude Grant for its Coffee for Veterans project. Since 2012, the Lodge has donated cases of coffee, along with toiletries and clothing, to hospitalized veterans at the Hot Springs V.A. Medical Center.

Some Lodges also receive Impact Grants to serve veterans. Westerly, R.I., Lodge No. 678 was awarded a new Impact Grant in 2024 for its project, Elks Dare to Care. With the grant funds, the Lodge plans to build and operate a pantry for veterans experiencing homelessness, and provide home repairs and furniture for veterans who have moved into permanent housing.

Just as Memorial Day isn’t the only day to salute veterans, grant projects in support of veterans run all year round. If the holiday has your Lodge feeling inspired, check out this list of 20 project ideas to serve veterans. Grant applications are open until January 22, 2025—apply today!

For more information on the grants we offer, check out our Grant Toolkits. The CIP can be reached with any questions at 773/755-4730 or LodgeGrants@elks.org.