The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is one of the oldest and largest fraternal organizations in the country. Since it’s inception in 1868, the Order of Elks has grown to include nearly 1.2 million men and woman in almost 2200 communities. We do not question one’s religion, nor do we exclude anyone because of creed, race, ethnic origin, education attainment, vocation, material status, or physical stature. We love our country and do not seek to impose different beliefs in place of personal commitments to God, Family, and Country, nor do we ask anyone to act in any manner contrary to the dictates of their conscience. We do not permit religious or political differences to intrude into our organization.
On the National Level, over the past 135 years the Elks have distributed over $3 billion in cash, goods and services to the nations youth, its veterans, the disadvantaged and handicapped and in support of patriotic and civic programs. The Elks National Foundation was established in 1928 and is an endowment fund that has grown to over $320 million, only income from the fund is expended. The Elks National Foundation mission is "helping Elks build stronger communities." We do this by providing tomorrow’s leaders, our youth, with a healthy beginning, by providing more scholarships than any organization besides the U.S. Government. For our veterans the Elks’ pledge that, "So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them". We do this locally and nationally; the Elks started the very first Veterans Hospital.
On the Florida State Level we support our two charities, the Florida Elks Youth Camp and the Florida Children’s Therapy Services.The Florida Elks Youth Camp is located on 385 acres of rolling hills, forests, lakes and open space in Marion Country, FL. We are proud that the camp has a ratio of one counselor and one counselor in training for every seven campers. We are extremely proud that the American Camping Association accredits our camp as a safe camping environment for children.The Florida Elks Children Therapy Services have a long history of providing rehabilitation services to needy children. In 1999, the Florida Elks Association decided to close their rehabilitation hospital in Umatilla, to provide services in a different manner. With 20 mobile units consisting of both Physical and Occupation Therapists, we are treating children all over the state of Florida who do not have easy access to therapy as a result of financial consideration or because the children need to be at home due to medical reasons.
At the Brandon Lodge, we support our local community by supporting the Brandon Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) with school supplies for children that could not afford them and food donations for needy families. We have a teenager of the Month, during the School Year, providing them with Savings Bonds to help in their college education along with giving Scholarships. We currently have an Adopt-A-Vet program to benefit the veterans in the James A Haley Hospital as well as Liberty Manor in Tampa, Florida. The first Wednesday of every month a free dinner is provided to these vets in our lodge. Every Sunday in February, we transport the Veterans to Chapel. In December, we adopt families that would not have a Christmas without us.Our Ladies Organization, the B.L.O.E. (Brandon Ladies Of Elks) work hard to help support the Elks. They purchase many articles needed in the Lodge and the Lodge kitchen along with supporting many charities in the area. They give four college scholarships each year and send 10 children to the Florida Elks Camp that would not be able to attend camp without assistance. In addition they provide Food Gift Certificates to the families that Elks adopt at Christmas.
In our many Lodges throughout the United States smiling faces and a warm welcome await you as an Elk. You’ll never have to stand-alone in an uncaring world around you once you’re a member of the American Elks family. For more information about becoming an Elk contact your nearest Elk’s Lodge or Brandon Elks Lodge #2383 at 813-685-6469.