The Elks Lodge: A Good Town Secret
From Staff reports
Who are the Elks, and what is an Elks Lodge?
The Elks, or the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, is a fraternal and social club that was founded in 1868 in New York City. The Sunland-Tujunga Elks Lodge was founded on March 26, 1977. The national membership is close to 1 million, and there are more than 2,000 lodges, or meeting places, in the United States.
The Elks mission is “To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship; to perpetuate itself as a fraternal organization, and to provide for its government, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America will serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share.”
The Sunland-Tujunga Elks Lodge has a rich history of philanthropy. They hold programs and fundraising events that support the community. This year the lodge held its 29th annual 4th of July lunch for wounded veterans at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center. Lodge members also donated more than $1,000 worth of dictionaries to local third-grade students. On Thanksgiving the lodge will host 20 veterans for lunch. The lodge also supports the Pastor Program at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, and every Christmas the Elks provide food baskets for up of 50 families in the community.
For the community, the lodge offers an omelet bar every third Sunday. Every second and fourth Friday, and also for local residents, the lodge hosts a special dinner to help Elks charities. Earl Bouchard has been the head chef at the lodge for the last 15 years.
The Elks have partnered with the Sunland-Tujunga Chamber of Commerce on various events, and they have operated game booths at the Easter (Spring) Carnival at Sunland Park. Each February the lodge holds a casino night.