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Focus Grants in Action

Last year, Elks volunteers were busier than ever serving homeless veterans. Check out some of our favorite Focus Grant photos from 2021-22!

Elks Family Traditions at Hoop Shoot

It wasn’t just basketball that brought people together at the recent Elks Hoop Shoot National Finals. As a way to connect contestants and their families with the Elks’ mission of service, the weekend included a service activity. Read about it here!

Elks Member Stewart Israel chosen as the VA NAC Male Volunteer of the Year

The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks is proud to announce that Stewart Israel of Plymouth-Ann Arbor, Mich., Elks Lodge No. 325 has been selected as the VA NAC Male Volunteer of the Year!

Serving Veterans in Rural Communities

Learn more about the conditions faced by veterans living in rural communities, and how you can serve them.

Freedom Grant Webinar & News

Freedom Grant applications are online now through April 15. Watch a recording of our 2022-23 Freedom Grant Webinar, and learn about program changes. Consider applying for a $1,000 Freedom Grant Spark!

Voluntary Service Spring Activity

Voluntary Service Representatives are returning to veterans' facilities. Here's a look at some of the activities they have been hosting.

In Their Own Words

Each veteran facing homelessness has their own story to tell. Read what veterans have to say about how the Emergency Assistance Fund has impacted their lives.

Fighting Veteran Hunger

Food insecurity can impact anyone, even veterans. Here's how your Lodge can help!

National Salute to Veteran Patients Week

How are Elks getting involved in the VA's annual celebration of veteran patients? Read more about it here.

The Compassion Cure

A new program from VA to fight veteran isolation.

Elks Partner with Oscar Mike

The Elks National Veterans Service Commission is partnering with Oscar Mike to create more adaptive sports opportunities for veterans! We've designed 4 items to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the ENVSC and support the Oscar Mike Foundation. Check them out here.

Halfway to the Finish Line

The Elks fiscal year is officially half over. Read about what the ENVSC accomplished so far in 2021-22!

Elks Share Voluntary Service Experiences

In October, ENVSC hosted the first online panel discussion with Representatives from the Voluntary Service program. Read on for some of the ideas our volunteers shared during the panel.

Veterans Remembrance Month

November is Veterans Remembrance Month! You can celebrate by joining your fellow Elks in service to veterans.

Voluntary Service Zoom Event

Learn about the Voluntary Service program and hear how ENVSC volunteers have been serving veterans in their communities at our first ever Voluntary Service panel discussion.

Elks Voluntary Service: By the Numbers

Elks members and their spouses starting volunteering in VA facilities in 1955. Since then, the Elks Voluntary Service Program has grown exponentially, to serve veterans wherever they seek care.

Battling Veteran Homelessness

In 2015, the ENVSC made a pledge to help end veteran homelessness. Read about how our Emergency Assistance Fund is shaping veterans' futures and giving them the security they deserve!

Supporting Mental Health During a Pandemic

As a volunteer, learn how you can support mental health and wellbeing for the veterans in your life.

Community Connections Help Veterans Thrive

Learn how members of one California Lodge form lasting connections with the veterans they serve.

Teamwork Builds a Home

Find out how a truckload of donations helped grow a new partnership with ESA to benefit veterans exiting homelessness.

An Exhausting and Productive Year

The past year and a half have been tumultuous, to say the least. Longstanding projects were shaken up, canceled, or reworked entirely. Lodges scrambled to navigate ever-changing guidelines, trying to serve veterans while ensuring everyone’s safety.

One woman who handled the roller coaster of last year with grace and determination is Emma Pletz of Milwaukie-Portland, Ore., Lodge No. 142, earning her the title of 2021 National Veterans Service Volunteer of the Year!

Welcome Home: Words of Wisdom

From every corner in the country, Elks members came together to talk shop about serving homeless veterans. Tune in to read tips and tricks from experienced Elks volunteers!

A Windy and Wonderful Time

Despite a looming hurricane, we had a terrific time in Tampa for the Elks National Convention. Read all the ENVSC news from Convention.

Help Heal Veterans Name Elks their 2021 Partner of the Year!

For the past 20 years, Elks have been working closely with Help Heal Veterans, which helps veterans recover and thrive by providing free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to hospitalized and homebound veterans.

Read more about this partnership and how it helps thousands of veterans every year!

A Feeling You Can't Get Anywhere Else

This July, we’re kicking off the 75th-anniversary celebration of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission. We started by interviewing ENVSC Chair John Amen about his volunteer work for veterans, from the time he joined to his time as GER to his work as Commission Chair.

"Serving veterans, it's a feeling you can't get anywhere else," Amen says.

Volunteers Back in Action!

After many months away, Voluntary Service Representatives are starting to return to their facilities.

2021-22 Freedom Grant Highlights

350 Freedom Grants have been awarded this year! Read about some of the projects we're excited about in the upcoming year.

Welcome Home Kits Deliver Sweet Dreams

For many veterans, a bed is the most pressing need—and it can be a big expense. To help, we are expanding the Welcome Home Kit program! Read about the change, and hear from one of our volunteers about how it will help better serve veterans.

Getting Excited About Freedom Grants!

Read stories from last year's Freedom Grant recipients as you prepare to apply for a grant.

Setting Sail on Another Year of Service

We're casting off into a new year with high hopes for a return to normalcy and even some program expansions. Read all about our exciting plans for 2021-22.

Then, start planning! We set sail on April 1. 

Looking Out for Veterans

Read about how one committed volunteer lives out the value of "Active Elk Involvement" by building community with the veterans she serves.

Elks Are Determined to Support Veterans

Learn about how Elks are using Freedom Grants to continue supporting veterans in their communities.

Planting Seeds of Service

Read about how one California Elk is instilling the value of service in the youngest generation.

Upholding the Elks Pledge: December 2020

No Instagram? No problem! Take a look at our favorite photos from the past month of Elks serving veterans.

Focus Grant Mid-year Update

We are already halfway through the 2020-2021 fiscal year—can you believe it? We’re excited to tell you how Elks volunteers have been using Focus Grants to help veterans in need!

Program Shifts and Silver Linings

For many of our volunteers, this November is quieter than usual. But, there is a way forward. We talked to Patrick Gleason, the VA Voluntary Service Chief at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, to see what supporting veterans looks like in the era of COVID-19.

Stronger Together

Elks volunteers from Washington-Rockville, Md., Lodge No. 15 teamed up with community partners to provide fresh and healthy food for veterans in need.

10 Ways to Serve Veterans Safely

Don’t let the pandemic stand in your way! Here are 10 ideas for reaching out to veterans during Veterans Remembrance Month this year.

Upholding the Elks Pledge: October 2020

Check out some of our most popular recent Instagram photos of Elks serving veterans!

Cards for Veterans

We're hosting a Card Drive to benefit our longtime partner Help Heal Veterans! It only takes a few minutes to reach out to a recovering veteran.

Upholding the Elks Pledge September 2020

Catch some of our most popular Instagram photos of Elks in action from the past month!

Advancing Hope and Housing Justice in Uncertain Times

Janika Walker, the Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, says many veterans have had their housing has threatened during the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares her thoughts on the importance of the Elks’ Emergency Assistance Fund to keep veterans safely housed, both now and in the future.

Serving Outdoors or from a Distance

Has your Lodge been missing the usual opportunities to volunteer with veterans? Even with events cancelled and hospitals closed to visitors, there are alternative ways to get involved.

Help Heal Veterans Craft Kits: a Popular Pandemic Pastime!

Thanks to our partnership with Help Heal Veterans, Lodge Veterans Chairs and Voluntary Service Representatives can order free craft kits for the veterans they serve.

These kits are particularly popular with veterans stuck at home during quarantine! Read these thank you notes from veterans about how the kits helped them stay focused and engaged.

Stand down cancelled? Try these projects instead!

Elks are finding new ways to serve veterans in the midst of the pandemic.

2020 Elks Veterans Service National Volunteer of the Year

Drumroll please . . . . . We're proud to announce that the 2020 Elks Veterans Service National Volunteer of the Year is Gary Drumheller of Sun City, Ariz., Lodge No. 2559!

Though we can’t honor him at convention like planned, we can still brag about his accomplishments.

Upholding the Elks Pledge - August 2020

Check out this month's highlighted photos of Elks serving veterans!

2020 State Veteran Volunteer Winners

Read all about the state-level winners of the Elks Veteran Service Volunteer of the Year awards!

Upholding the Elks Pledge: July 2020

Check out some of this month's most popular photos of Elks service to veterans! #ElksAlwaysCare

Elks Veterans Service Week Recap

We missed seeing all of you at Convention this year, but we kept the fun going online! Read all about Elks Veterans Service Week.

Upholding the Elks Pledge: June 2020

We may be socially distanced, but our veterans are not forgotten! Here's how Elks are serving vets, because #ElksAlwaysCare.

Helping Veterans Now with Freedom Grants

Congratulations to this year's Freedom Grant recipients! All 325 Freedom Grants have been awarded for projects or donations that serve veterans and/or military members in need.

Working From Home to Give Veterans a Welcome Home

With the COVID-19 pandemic, helping veterans move into safe and stable housing immediately is more important than ever. Read about how Portsmouth, N.H., Lodge No. 97 has adapted to provide Welcome Home Kits while "working from home."

Freedom Grant Applications Open on June 1!

This year, as your Lodge prepares to apply for a Freedom Grant, you may be wondering how restrictions on gatherings and events due to COVID-19 will affect your project. Many projects will not be possible in the same way as they were in previous years, but with some adjustments we hope you'll continue to find ways to use the grant to serve veterans in need.

Upholding the Elks Pledge: May 2020

The Elks pledge, "So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them." We're rounding up some of our most popular posts from Instagram this month to show how Elks are putting that pledge into action! We may be socially distanced, but our veterans are not forgotten.

Safe and Sheltered, Thanks to the Elks

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing stories on our webpage and on Facebook of Lodges that have found ways to keep serving veterans, even with visitation bans and other restrictions in place.

To keep that trend going, we’d like to feature a few Lodges whose work over the past year has helped veterans find safe, stable places to live, making this pandemic easier to weather.

Always There for Veterans

Elks are finding ways to be there for veterans, especially during this time of crisis. Read about Elks upholding our pledge, from 6 feet away.

ENVSC Programs and COVID-19

With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of many activities and the continued recommendations of the CDC, we understand that many previously planned events are now cancelled or postponed.

Our priority right now is keeping our members and volunteers safe while still supporting veterans. Please review these important updates regarding ENVSC programs right now.

Freedom Grant Application Checklist

Before you finish your Freedom Grant application, check out this list of common reasons for follow-up to make sure that yours is complete!

February 2020: Welcome Home Kit Participation by State

Elks have provided nearly 4,000 Welcome Home Kits since the program began! How many came from your state?

Check out this interactive map to see each state's Welcome Home Kit totals and find out!

Bigger Freedom Grants and More in the 2020-21 ENVSC Budget!

A new fiscal year starts April 1, and ENVSC programs are stronger than ever. Read more about our plans for 2020-21, which include an increase to Freedom Grants!

Going the Extra Mile for Veterans

Through the Voluntary Service Program, Elks provide consistent, ongoing support to veterans in 343 facilities around the country with monthly activities and visits.

Read about how a few of our Representatives went the extra mile to plan special events to better serve veterans at their facilities! 

Whoa, We're Halfway There!

The 2019-20 Elks year is more than halfway gone. We took a moment to review our progress so far. Read our report!

Introducing the 2018-19 ENVSC Annual Report!

2018-19 was our biggest year ever! We're proud of the stories, statistics and outcomes featured in this report.

We hope you read this report and feel good about your time as a volunteer and a member of the Elks.

Thankful all Year-round

With the holidays around the corner, people are feeling more charitable than ever!

Check out these examples of how your Lodge can take that spirit of volunteerism and use it to expand your holiday activities to serve veterans year-round.

November is Veterans Remembrance Month!

Grand Exalted Ruler Robert L. Duitsman has officially proclaimed November to be Veterans Remembrance Month! Read the news here.

The Helping Hands of Chula Vista Lodge

Read about how Chula Vista, Calif., Lodge No. 2011 makes the most of its resources to serve so many veterans in the community.

Elks Campaign to Support Pearl Harbor

At the 2019 Elks National Convention in St. Louis, outgoing Grand Exalted Ruler Mike Luhr issued a challenge to the Elks members to raise funds for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii. Will you help?

2018-19 Voluntary Service Outcomes!

Elks Volunteers provide ongoing, vital support to veterans in more than 300 hospitals and facilities across the country through our long-standing Voluntary Service Program. Read about our volunteers' accomplishments here!

4 Years, $4 Million, Thousands of Veterans Housed

Read our recap of the first four years of the Welcome Home program.

2019 Elks National Convention Recap

We're back in Chicago after a great trip to St. Louis! For those who weren't able to attend, check out our recap.

2019-20 Freedom Grant Recipients!

This year the Elks National Veterans Service Commission awarded 325 Freedom Grants, more than ever before!

Bigger and Better ENVSC Programs in 2019-20!

We’re gearing up for a new fiscal year and we’re excited to announce program expansions! Read about all the exciting changes coming up.

12 Things Your Lodge Can Do for Veterans This Winter!

Grant applications are due December 31. Don't miss out on the chance to to use these grant funds to serve your community.

Need project ideas? Read our list of 12 things you can do for veterans this winter.

We're Halfway There!

It's halfway through 2018-19. Check out all that our volunteers have accomplished already this year!

Freedom Grants in Action

In 2018-19, we awarded a record 300 Freedom Grants. Read about how a few of these projects have gone so far!

Veterans Service: The Year Ahead

The ENVSC has exciting plans for the 2022-23 year, including budget increases for our three biggest programs. Help us reach our goal of more Lodges involved and more veterans served in 2022-23.  

2018-19 Freedom Grant Recipients!

It was another competitive year for Freedom Grants, and this year we awarded grants to 300 Lodges! Read about a few of the projects here, and view a list of all 300 Lodges.

2018 Convention Recap: 150 Years of Service!

We're back in Chicago after a successful convention. Read all about the action here!

2018 Elks Veterans Service National Volunteer of the Year

Every year, we award two Volunteer of the Year awards to volunteers from each state who go above and beyond in service to veterans. This year, for the first time, we chose a national winner from all the state level-winners.

We’re proud to name Earl T. Bouchard of Sunland-Tujunga, Calif., Lodge No. 2098, the 2018 Elks Veterans Service National Volunteer of the Year!

Supporting Rural Veterans

If you're a Voluntary Service Representative at an outpatient clinic or you want to help veterans living in rural areas, you may be wondering what you can do. Here are a few possibilities to get you started.

Join us in San Antonio for Convention!

Will you be in San Antonio for the Elks 150th Celebration? Make sure to put these Elks Veterans Service events on your calendar!

2018-19 ENVSC Budget

The 2018-19 fiscal year starts next week 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 $2.9 million, our programs continue to grow!

Our Impact in 2017-18: The Voluntary Service Program

Read about all that Elks accomplished in 2017-18 through the Voluntary Service Program. This facility based-program reached more than 650,000 veterans last fiscal year!

Elks Serve: The 2017-18 ENVSC Annual Report

We're proud to report on this past year, and we hope you enjoy reading about what Elks accomplished together, in service to veterans.

2017-18 ENVSC Annual Report

Welcome Home Kit Participation By State

The Welcome Home Kit program allocates funding for Elks lodges to provide newly housed veterans with household items to help them become established in their new homes. Check out this interactive map that summarizes each states participation in the program.

Make a Difference in 2018

Is your New Years Resolution to volunteer more? You’re in luck! Check out these 10 ways to do more for veterans and military members in 2018.

Welcome Home Progress : Three Years In

In September 2015, 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!

Veteran-focused InstaGrants!

Looking to do more for veterans? Need ideas? You’re in luck!

Check out these veterans-focused InstaGrants!

Perfect for an Anniversary or Gratitude Grant, these ideas are taken from successful projects held by other Lodges.

Reno Recap: The 2017 Elks National Convention

Did you miss the 2017 convention? Never fear! You can read all about what happened here.

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.

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.

We Are the Elks: Read our 2016-17 Annual Report!

The final numbers are in, and we're proud to report on another successful year of serving veterans! Thanks to volunteers like you, the value of Elks' contributions to veterans and military members last year totaled more than $40 million.

2016-17 ENVSC Annual Report

Want a paper copy? Email, or call us at 773-755-4810.

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!

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!

History of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission

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

The Elks' Turn to Serve Monthly E-newsletter

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

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!

“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!

One Hide at a Time: The Man Behind the Veterans Leather Program

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.

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!

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.

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.

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