These are the virtues that form the foundation of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge. The Elks Lodge, an organization started in New York City in 1868, has grown to thousands of chapters and over a million members across the nation, and is known for their charitable works within their local communities.
The Port Jefferson Chapter, now located at 41 Horseblock Road in Centereach, is one such chapter doing remarkable things. Their core membership works diligently, operating as a catering hall that hosts various events.
It is a beautiful hall, affordable and local. The food is always brought in by Villa Sorrento, ensuring a delicious quality meal every time. Many people in the surrounding area know it as a wonderful place to hold their special occasions; but it seems they don’t always know about the Elks mission behind it.
The Elks Lodge is structured as a social club where membership has its privileges. Often, members will meet for the camaraderie, a bite to eat and a drink. There is always something fun happening, be it a “Night at the Races,” steak dinners, family picnics or New Year’s Eve Parties. Non-members are always welcome.
All the money raised turns the fun times into serious work. Every year, they give out scholarships to high school students. Unlike most local organizations, however, they give out a substantial sum of money. The Elks offers their Most Valuable Student Scholarships (MVS) amounts ranging from $4,000 to $50,000. Any high school student is eligible to apply. The Elks even offer a night for potential applicants to come in and learn more about the scholarship and its application to better their chance of receiving it. One year, one local student was given $60,000 in total.
Recently, American VetDogs in Smithtown was grateful to be the recipient of a similar earning program. Any Elk will tell you as long as there are Veterans, there will be assistance. Also, food banks, medically fragile children, the disabled, you name it. If there is a need, the Elks want to know about it, and they will help. Anyone can become a member, and as all the current members will tell you, the more you’re involved the more you will love the Elks Lodge. You become family, part of the Elkdom. At every event, they have a ritual of 11 Bells.
Played at 11 p.m. to honor and remember all the Elks that have come before them — never forgotten, never forsaken. Once an Elk, always an Elk. To learn more, visit www.elks.org.