In 1946 the Elks made the solemn pledge: "So Long as There are Veterans in Our Hospitals, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Will Never Forget Them." The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks provides year-round entertainment and recreation at each of the country's Veterans Administration hospitals. These activities are sponsored by the Elks National Veterans Service Commission in cooperation with the State Elks Associations and the local Elks lodges. Patients are treated to parties, boxing and wrestling matches, sports celebrity nights and other entertainment. Those who can get about are taken to baseball, football and basketball games. They also go on fishing trips, picnics and other outings.
The Order supports occupational therapy programs. They collect and distribute to veterans hospitals tons of leather hides, furs, rooster feathers, old clocks and watches, jewelry and electrical appliances. Another activity for veterans is the collecting and distribution of hundreds of thousands of decks of playing cards to veterans hospitals. These cards are collected by the local Elk lodges and the State Elks Associations.
The Elks National Veterans Service Commission provided funds and materials to build a recreational unit at the Navy Hospital in Guam. At the same time, when the Commission learned that wounded veterans from Vietnam were sweltering in Tripler Army Medical Center that lacked air conditioning, they provided 24 air conditioning units. That Elks hold veterans in high esteem is evident by their actions. When the Order opened its National Headquarters and Memorial Building in 1926, it was dedicated to the fighting men of World War 1. In 1946, they rededicated the edifice to those who saw service in World War 11. Again in 1976, this honor was bestowed on those who paid the sacrifice in Korea and Vietnam.
The recognition by the Elks of those patriots who had served in Vietnam was a full ten years before the United States government or any other organization recognized their sacrifices to America. Once again the Elks have led the way.
The Elks were among the first fraternal organizations to formally welcome home the returning Veterans from Operation Desert Storm. Subordinate Lodges held appropriate functions recognizing the veterans sacrifices and thanking them for their commitment to duty. As long as the Elks exist, our hospitalized veterans will be provided for. At Paramus, our committee is always looking for new members. We work primarily with the Veterans home in Paramus. We play Bingo and/or cards with the Veterans living there. We send each of them birthday cards on their 'special' day. (many times it is the only acknowledgment many of these brave Veterans receive) We provide Christmas gifts during the holidays. Our committee stands ready to help in whatever way possible, both with our time and with much needed supplies and gifts. Anyone interested in helping can contact any Officer, or the committee chairman, Sonny Schuler
Since its inception in 1983, the Elks Drug Awareness Program has worked to prevent drug use by our youth through education. The Elks recognize that they are not experts in the field of drug education. However, we do have the resources -- in dollars, facilities and volunteers -- to work with the experts to ensure that young people know the facts about drugs. In addition to sponsoring seminars, workshops and drug-free functions, we print and distribute literature developed by authorities on drug awareness. Since 1983, we've printed and handed out more than 125 million pieces of literature to students, their teachers and their parents. We hope that through this resource center, we can reach even more people.While the Elks do recognize that we are not experts in drug addiction, we help furnish the resources in dollars, facilities and volunteers to help our local school, police programs and other experts get the word out to try to keep America's youth from using Drugs and Alcohol. Anyone interested in joining this committee can contact any Officer, or the committee chairperson, Bernice Rahn, PER.
We have a very active committee which is dedicated to producing good, upstanding, youth who will have the confidence and courage necessary to lead our Country in the future. Our Hoop Shoot, Soccer Shoot, and Scouting programs, all fall under the category of Youth Activities. We also have a program in place which allows youth to work with the local government to see what makes it "tick". Student of the year awards are given out annually to local youth. If you are interested in helping with the committee, you can contact any Officer or the committee chairperson, Chris Civello.
There is no secret to what this committee does. Each year we give thousands of dollars to local students for furthering their education. The Elks National Foundation provides more than $3 million in college scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors. The Most Valuable Student scholarships are open to any graduating high school senior. Legacy Awards and Emergency Educational Grants are available only to the children of Elks. Anyone wanted to work on this committee can contact any Officer of the committee chairperson, Bernice Rahn, PER.
ARMY OF HOPE
This is a fairly new committee and was formed to offer aid to those currently service in our militaries. Finances, counseling and whatever else we can offer is there for these brave men and women. Anyone interested in more information, can contact any officer or the committee chairperson, Bernice Rahn, PER.
This committee is dedicated to improving the lives of those children born with Special Needs. New Jersey's Camp Moore is the chief State project and provides the camping experience for hundreds of children each year who might not ordinarily be able to go to camp. Our Lodge runs Holiday parties each year and raises funds not only for Camp Moore, but for the Poster children selected each year. We furnish wheel chairs, and fulfill other needs when and where we can. Anyone interested in helping can contact any Officer or the committee chairperson, Rich Cimiluca,PER.
The Elks "Hoop Shoot" Free Throw Contest is the largest and most visible of the many youth activities sponsored by Elks Lodges. More than three million boys and girls, ages 8-13, will participate this year. The Elks "Hoop Shoot" highlights the Elks commitment to America's youth. From the millions of youngsters who participate and advance through local, district, state and regional competition, six national champions are named — one boy and one girl in each of three categories: ages 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13. The winners each receive a trophy and their names are inscribed on a plaque at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Parents accompany contestants throughout the competition. The parents of finalists at the state, regional and national levels attend the competitions as guests of the Elks. Anyone interested in helping can contact any Officer or the committee chairperson, Chris Civello.
ELKS CAMP MOORE
Elks Camp Moore is not the usual handicapped children's camp as it is located in the heart of the Ramapo Mountains. The setting of the camp provides a breathtaking view of the valley below, and mountains in the distance. When a child vacations at Elks Camp Moore it is an experience they will never forget, and a view which a handicapped child would not likely every experience. We believe that like all children, the handicapped need to go to camp for new experiences, new friends and to participate in activities that will aid them in their general growth. Camp allows these experiences in a new environment. Elks Camp Moore's primary function is to enable children to use and further develop recreational, social and leisure skills through activities presented in a positive, enjoyable and appropriate manner and in a real life situation.
At camp each child is challenged to try new things or to improve on what he already knows. We encourage each child to do as much as he can for himself and by himself. The guidance of a friendly and understanding counselor is always near.