If your Lodge is using a Community Investments Program grant to serve veterans and military members in need, the project must focus on one of these five areas of increased need.
Homelessness and Housing
Many military members struggle to find employment when they return home, and veterans’ unemployment level is higher than the national average. Help veterans find jobs in the local community.
Red Lodge "Beartooth", Mont., Lodge No. 534 uses its Impact Grant to provide job training to veterans, including resume workshops and job fairs.
HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING
Homelessness and housing is a struggle for many who have served, and as many as one in five homeless persons is a veteran. By reaching out to the homeless population in your community, you are supporting veterans.
On any given night, an estimated 50,000 veterans are living on the streets. Watch this video below to meet seven vets who were there recently but have now exited homelessness with help from the Veterans Administration and community partners like the Elks.
Then, learn more about the Elks' commitment to eliminating the scourge of veteran homelessness here.
Military families have unique struggles—spouses may have trouble finding employment, families may struggle with finances, and children may need help with school transitions and coping with the absence of a parent. Support local military families.
Portland, Ore., Lodge No. 142 partners with the National Guard and uses its Gratitude Grant to hold a welcome home party and resource fair for military members and their families.
Veterans with injuries have many needs, and health is a concern for many veterans. Hospitalized, homebound and elderly veterans may have little support. Care kits, clothes, bus passes, and supplies are always needed. Personal contact is also needed, and much appreciated.
Mansfield, Mass., Lodge No. 2633 uses its Beacon Grant to plan parties, hold dinners and provide supplies for residents of a nearby VA home.
Watch this interview of Pat Gleason, Chief of Voluntary Service at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, as he talks about how Elks can effectively serve veterans at VA centers across the country.
Many recently returned veterans are at risk of dropping out. Student veterans need extra help to get an education, stay in school and focus on their future. Reach out to student veterans in the community and provide them with educational support.
Santa Barbara, Calif., Lodge No. 613 uses its Beacon Grant to hold a monthly bowling league and support group for student veterans.
BE A FRIEND
At the end of the day, any veteran you hope to help needs to be connected to their local community, but not put under the microscope. Invite veterans to take part in your Lodge’s charitable activities. Be an inviting friend.
Revisit a Hand Up: Read our series focusing on the issues facing today's returning servicemen and women, as well as examples and resources for Lodges looking to do more to serve them. Check out the Hand Up series here.
Watch Inspiring Interviews:Watch and share the stories of seven formerly homeless veterans.