By Rick Gathen - Grand Lodge National Membership. & Public Relations Manager
 
Chicago, IL -Local Elks Lodges from every state, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone will be busy helping our communities this holiday season. Thousands of needy families will receive food baskets and presents. 
 
Elk volunteers will visit thousands of hospitalized Veterans that have protected our freedoms. The Elks vow "So long as there are Veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them." The Elks support both active military forces and retired veterans. Elks furnish food, comfort care items, therapeutic items and gifts, host holiday celebrations and recreational activities at bases and hospitals, and stand ready to fulfill any need when called upon. Last year alone, the value of Elks' contributions to the nation's heroes provided more than $32 million to more than 300 Veterans Administration Medical Centers, clinics, and state care facilities. The Elks have entered into a partnership with VHA to support efforts homeless Veterans in their communities. To this end, the Elks have pledged $4 million dollars to help end Veteran Homelessness. 
 
The Elks will receive thousands of scholarship applications in December from high school seniors across the nation. Annually, the Elks award college scholarships across the nation totaling more than $4 million. 
 
The Elks Community Investment Program will award nearly $10 million towards enriching our communities.  
 
There are more than 1,900 Elks Lodges across the country with a total membership nearing  800,000. Elks' members must be American citizens who are at least 21 years of age and must believe in God. 
 
To learn more visit www.elks.org
 
 
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