Veterans News

Welcome Home: Words of Wisdom


Last month, the ENVSC hosted its first ever Welcome Home Program Volunteer Panel Discussion. Elks members from around the country came together to learn from one another and share their successes in serving homeless veterans—with a special focus on providing household essentials for newly housed veterans. Now, we are excited to share their tips and tricks with you. Read on for the top 5 takeaways from our panel of experts!

  1. Make it easy for veterans to say what they need. Some veterans will have trouble thinking of items they need for their new homes, or they might feel shy about asking for help. Practice asking specific questions to learn what they need. For example, some volunteers talk veterans through a checklist of common home items room-by-room, making a list of supplies together.

  2. Get creative about finding deals. This will allow you to stretch your funds further, especially when it comes to furniture. Lodges collect donated and discounted items through Facebook Marketplace, Next Door, local thrift stores, and even real estate groups! Don’t be shy about telling people the items are for veterans experiencing homelessness: you just might be surprised how many people and businesses will work out a discount to help a veteran.

  3. Build your dream team. Join forces with other like-minded groups who share your passion for serving veterans. Partner groups might be able to donate additional supplies, or offer other services such as moving furniture to a veteran’s home. Consider reaching out to local veterans charities or service-based fraternities and sororities to see how you can work together.

    At right: Volunteers from Cumberland County, Tenn., Lodge No. 2751 get active while delivering a Welcome Home Kit.

  4. Lean on your fellow Lodge members. Remember to share the load and ask for help. Offer to teach other volunteers how to do what you do, so you can take turns serving veterans and cover for each other when life gets busy. In the long-run, building a support system will leave you with more time and energy to give to veterans who need you!

  5. Stay in touch with the veterans you serve. Let them know they can turn to your Lodge for support and community. For veterans who have been homeless, managing a home can feel overwhelming. Phone calls, personalized cards, and invitations to Lodge events go a long way. You can also help veterans practice new skills, such as paying bills online or talking to a landlord.

Can't get enough of the Welcome Home program? View the full recording of the Welcome Home Program Volunteer Panel Discussion!

You can also read more about our pledge to end veteran homelessness.

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