Elks National Veterans Service Commission
November Newsletter
This time of year, many are vocal about all of the things they are grateful for in their lives: family, friends, good health, good fortune. One of the things I'm thankful for lately is my home. Winter has arrived, and winter in Chicago can be dangerously cold for those without shelter.

Last month, we announced the Welcome Home project, a partnership with the VA to end veteran homelessness. This month, we debut a video featuring 7 veterans from the Chicago area who were formerly homeless. Thanks to the VA and community partners, they are all now safely housed and doing well. Unfortunately, there are an estimated 50,000 veterans just like them who don't have homes.

Please watch this important video, share it with friends and family, and then visit our Welcome Home webpage to learn more and get involved. Our homeless veterans need you.
Elks Headquarters Stand Down

Many of the Elks staff members here are used to working behind the scenes, but recently we got out of the office and sprang into action.

For the second year in a row, we volunteered 
 at the Chicago Stand Down to help provide homeless and struggling veterans with food, clothes, care and support.

In advance of the Stand Down, we also held a warm clothing drive at the Elks Memorial Building to collect coats, hats, gloves and socks for veterans at the Stand Down. Read about the donors and neighbors who stopped by here

Veterans Leather Program

The Veterans Leather program is off and running! Last year 20 states donated over 15,000 hides to the program.

Donated hides are tanned and distributed for recreational and occupational therapy throughout the Veterans Administration Health Care System by our VA Voluntary Service Representatives. Leather is also used to make fingerless gloves, a popular item for veterans in wheelchairs.

Serve veterans by learning more and spreading the word about the Veterans Leather Program!  

Freedom Grants in Action

St. Petersburg, Fla., Lodge No. 1224 won't let a few lions and tigers keep them from their mission of serving veterans. They'll join right in.

Using a Freedom Grant, Elks took 17 veterans and staff from C. W. Bill Young VA (Bay Pines) Domiciliary to Tampa's Big Cat Rescue. The road trip included a guided tour of the facility and a chance to learn about and observe each of the rescued animals at the shelter.

The veterans were thankful for the outing, and the chance to leave the hospital. Read more about the outing here, and learn about other veterans projects in Florida.

Stay Informed
The Mission Continues is a nonprofit group that empowers veterans by connecting them with service opportunities in their communities, helping veterans to find a new mission and help solve local issues. As a volunteer group made up of younger veterans, they would be an ideal partner for Elks Lodges engaged in service.

Recently, Mission Continues founder Eric Greitens and Team Rubicon USA CEO Jake Wood were interviewed on the Late Show. Watch the video here. Then visit their Service Platoon webpage to learn more about Mission Continues groups in your area, and invite them to help out at your next charitable event!  
Forward this email to Lodge members and friends and invite them to sign up here
Recently, ENF Director Jim O'Kelley blogged about Veterans Remembrance Month, and the importance of not just remembering, but serving. Read more here!

Stay Connected

*You're receiving this email because you are listed as a State or Lodge Veterans Chair, a State Newsletter Editor, or because you signed up. If this information is incorrect, please let us know. 

Questions? Contact us at 773-755-4736 or Vets@elks.org. Elk photo