Westchester Elks Lodge 2050 recently received a Focus Grant and is organizing multiple events that will bring veterans out into the community and increase their social interaction with the Elks and other community members. PHOTO COURTESY OF Westchester Elks Lodge 2050

Westchester Elks Lodge receives $10,000 Focus Grant

By Kamala Kirk

The Department of Veteran Affairs asked the Elks to focus on serving the homeless veterans in cities (Los Angeles is among the top eight) where the number of homeless veterans is the highest. The Elks then created the Focus Grant, a competitive $10,000 grant given to local lodges that want to provide a project addressing the veteran homeless issue.

“Lodge 2050 decided that we would work with U.S Vets – Inglewood, a longtime partner to our lodge in an area bordering Westchester,” said Fiona Engler, grant writer for Westchester Elks Lodge 2050. “Lodge 2050 has previously worked with U.S. Vets to offer quarterly dinners, as well as Welcome Home baskets; however, with this Focus Grant we will be able to expand our work into events that will bring our veterans out into the community and increase their social interaction with the Elks and other community members.”

Through the Focus Grant, Engler said that Lodge 2050 will offer the following events to veterans: a day trip to Catalina Island, a sea going day fishing trip, and a day whale watching tour. In October, Lodge 2050 took their first trip with the U.S. Vets to Catalina, where the group of veterans and Elks spent the day on an Eco Tour of the island, a visit to the Veteran’s Memorial on the island and time together in Avalon.

The second event that the Elks have arranged is a whale watching tour, as Santa Monica Bay is a passthrough for migrating grey whales and humpback whales. The third event they will arrange is a day fishing trip out of the local marina with the Elks, and veterans will spend the day fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

“Along with addressing the social needs of an expanded community for our transitional and permanently housed veterans and families, Lodge 2050 will also be supporting U.S. Vets’ Homeless Outreach teams,” Engler said.

“The lodge will be running a drive for individual toiletry items and making kits. These kits will be used by U.S. Vets – Inglewood’s outreach teams when they go out into the streets and work to get homeless veterans to come into their transitional housing facility and get the services they need.”

Westchester Elks Lodge 2050