Adopt-a-Veteran Program

If you've ever been hospitalized, you know the loneliness and depression you can experience. Think how tough it must be for hospitalized veterans, especially those who are far from home or have no family. With that thought in mind, George Schwarz of Clawson-Troy, Michigan, Lodge devised a simple yet effective solution in 1980: the Adopt-a-Veteran program.

His idea proved so successful that the National Veterans Service Commission picked it up in 1983. Last year, Lodges across the nation adopted 103,000 veterans, up 16,000 from the previous year. The Elks visited with them on their birthdays and holidays and showered them with gifts and attention. They took those who could leave the medical centers out to dinner, and brought dinner to those who couldn't. The Elks provided these men and women with comfort, companionship, cheer and understanding, and in the process--helped lift some of their loneliness.

There is no program that better illustrates our patriotism. The Adopt-a-Veteran Program is one in which every Lodge can, and should, participate. So, how can your Lodge get involved? This is how the program usually works:

  1. The VAVS Representative (or chairman at a state facility) secures the names of veterans without family or friends nearby and forwards the list to the state National Veterans Service chairman.
  2. The state chairman will divide the list among the Lodges in close proximity to the facility and forward the names to the appropriate district chairman.
  3. The district chairman will determine how many veterans each Lodge wishes to adopt. He will then provide the Lodges with a like amount of names.
  4. The Lodge should publish the names and birthdays of its adopted veterans in its bulletin each month and encourage members and their families to schedule visits. Gifts for the veteran should consist of personal-care items, reading material, games and similar items of nominal cost. Luncheons and dinners at a restaurant or the Lodge are also recommended.

The object of the Adopt-a-Veteran program is to take the place of family, to replace loneliness with hope and to let the veterans know we will never forget them. The state associations, districts and Lodges should use the means best suited to their particular situations to meet these objectives.

Veterans Comfort Care Items

The Elks National Veterans Service Commission has teamed up with Federated Wholesale, Inc., to put together comfort care kits for our hospitalized veterans at a most reasonable cost. The plastic drawstring bag will have our logo on it as well as space for the veteran's name. Body powder, shaving gel, body lotion, shampoo, alcohol-free after shave and deodorant will also contain our logo.

The items containing our logo as well as a comb, denture adhesive, emery boards, toothbrush and toothpaste will all be part of the kit.

The kits can be an integral part of your Adopt-A-Veteran Program. They can be given out when your present your Adopt-A-Veteran Certificate.