For Immediate Release

Salem Elks Lodge Partnership

Q&A With Salem Elks

April 14, 2021

The following is a brief interview between myself and Blake Whitson of the Salem Elks Lodge, in a question and answer format.

Who is Salem Elks? What does your organization do?

The Elks is a national fraternal service organization with about 2,000 lodges nationwide. Each lodge has different services and projects that it provides to serve its communities using funds raised through grants and member dues.
The Salem Elks Lodge works to fill the gaps for homeless veterans where other organizations leave off, such as assistance for homeless veterans that have recently been housed (i.e. ‘welcome home’ kits) and help with Christmas shopping for Veterans and members of the National Guard who have a need for financial assistance.

What does this partnership with Easterseals Oregon entail?

The Salem Elks Lodge received the Impact Grant (from the national Elks Foundation) – this has been in the works since 2019. In late November of 2019, Salem Elks lodge was approved for $10,000 from the Elks National Foundation to be used in 2020. The continued success of the Salem Elks lodge caused them to receive an additional $9,000 coming into 2021.
The partnership with Easterseals Oregon/Salem Elks started in 2018. Shortly after the partnership began, the idea came about to create “move-in kits” for veterans who were recently housed. As the move-in kits grew as an idea, they became more tailor-fitted to individual needs. Salem Elks also does Christmas shopping (including Christmas food, gifts, and gift cards) for Veterans/National Guard members, referred to Salem Elks by Easterseals Oregon or their other partners. Partnering with Easterseals Oregon means providing these services to Veterans referred by Easterseals, making sure that the assistance they receive is comprehensive, complete, and empowering. This sets veterans up on a path to lasting success.

As you approach your 125th anniversary as an organization, what is your goal for the next year?

In the next year, the biggest hope is to continue assisting those in need in our communities through our partnerships. The more people we can help with these partnerships, the better. Ultimately, 2020 has taught us the importance of keeping community assistance programs going through the toughest of times; because when we see economic downturn, those who were already without basic necessities are hit the hardest.
Since its inception, the Salem Elks Lodge has given an estimated $17 million of grants, volunteer hours, and services total in the Salem community. We plan to keep building on that foundation.

Anything else you’d like to say?

We’re still out here, and we have a booth at the Salem Saturday Market the 3rd Saturday of June, July, August, and September this year!  And if you would like to learn more about the Elks or to join the Salem Elks they can be found on fakebook at SalemElks336 or by email at

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