Local lodge’s unity helps out community

Danny Cozzi

An organization begun as a fraternity has grown into a nationwide fraternal institute. Though you may have never heard of it, the DeKalb Elks Lodge, 209 S. Annie Glidden Road, is a part of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, a nationwide fraternal institute with a 141-year history.

That history is accompanied by more than 2,000 locations and 900,000 active members.

Tim Davis, DeKalb Elks Lodge manager, said the DeKalb lodge hosts events like weekly bingo nights and monthly brunches. These events are open to everyone.

The lodge also has a club room with a bar where members-only events are held, Davis said.

“Bingo is open to public, but the lodge itself is private,” Davis said.

The Elks also host events for both members and non-members of the organization.

The institute hosts charity events to benefit the town base, Davis said.

According to its official website, the Elks hold events to support charities like Hope Haven and its mission, as well as other similar fundraisers. Hope Haven is an organization dedicated to delivering aid to those with disabilities.

“Charity [events] vary from lodge to lodge,” said Bryan Klatt, grand secretary of the Elks at the national level. “They can be anywhere from standard raffles to weekend getaways.”

Another example of Elks’ service is donations for scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

“The Elks National Foundation provides more than $3.64 million in college scholarships each year,” the website stated.

The organization also offers other public service programs ranging from drug awareness to veteran appreciation.

Klatt said the Elks have been an organized fraternity since 1868, and the foundation began spreading its influence in 1902 by constructing lodges for communities.

The organization is open to men and women 21 and older, Klatt added.