By Christina Whiting
This year, Homer Elks gave out $6,000 in scholarships to local high school students; seven to Homer High School students, one to a student from Voznesenska school and one to a student attending Homer Flex School.
Homer Elks Lodge 2127 is a private club of members who have been actively serving the community since 1959, donating their time, talents and resources.
“The Homer Elks membership is a brotherhood of people who want to do good for their community, their youth, military and veterans, and those in need,” said Mo Hodgdon, Exalted Ruler.
Every year, Homer Elks awards scholarships to students who have submitted applications for funding to help with their post-secondary education.
Each June, the Alaska State Elks Club Youth Camp is held in Palmer and Homer Elks takes 10 local youth to participate in crafts, canoeing, paddle boating, hiking, walking, swimming, archery and more. Situated on 90 acres, the youth camp is free for underprivileged youth, thanks to donations from Elks lodges throughout the state.
Homer Elks is also involved in hosting community-wide events, including a Super Bowl Party that is open to the public, and a Fourth of July community barbecue. Funds from both events support charitable projects like the scholarship program and the Wounded Warrior project. In October, the Elks host a two-day salmon derby, with cash prizes and awards given out to anglers based on their catch.
“These events keep getting bigger every year,” Hodgdon said. “They’re a lot of fun and enjoyed by all.”
During Memorial weekend, Homer Elks hosts a transitional care battalion of wounded veterans from Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks. Vets travel to Homer, where they are treated to fishing trips, accommodations and meals.
“This is a great opportunity for us to thank and recognize them for what they have done for our country,” Hodgdon said.
In addition to supporting local programs, Homer Elks are also involved in several national projects, including a youth hoop shoot and the Wounded Warrior project.
Homer Elks was recently awarded two grants from the Elks National Foundation. A $2,000 grant will be used to build a greenhouse on the lodge property this summer.
“Youth will be involved in all stages,” Hodgdon said. “From building the greenhouse to planting and growing the food.”
Additionally, mentors will teach youth about building, growing produce and healthy living and eating. The long-term goal is to work with the Homer Food Pantry to offer fresh produce to community members in need.
Homer Elks are also working to secure a $10,000 grant that would be used to help Kachemak Kids staff coordinate a new playground.
With their million-dollar view, the Homer Elks facility has been used for events and fundraisers for years, including Share the Spirit’s annual spaghetti feed fundraiser and recently, Haven House’s Women of Distinction Awards. They now cater local events, including weddings, Christmas parties, anniversary, birthdays and fundraisers.
New this year, Homer Elks is open to the community for lunch Monday through Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. A menu for both adults and children is available.
“We want to welcome the community into our lodge to enjoy great food at a great price, with a breathtaking view,” Hodgdon said.
The club’s original building was located where Haven House is currently. An Elk member donated the existing property and club volunteers built the current lodge in 1978.
Hodgdon said that one common misconception that Elks clubs face is the perception that the club is elitist.
“Some people think we’re a stuck-up club; just that building up on the bluff,” she said. “They don’t know how involved we are in the community.”
While the Elks is a private club, they accept applications for membership from anyone aged 21 and older, both men and women. There are currently 267 Homer Elk members; 226 men and 41 women, ranging in age from 23 to 91.
“Being an Elks member provides an opportunity to be part of a family and to give back to the community,” Hodgdon said.
It also provides access to the bar, restaurant and events.
Anyone interested in becoming a member or wanting more information is encouraged to stop by the Elks Club at 215 W Jenny Lane, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and noon. You can also call Mo Hodgdon at 235-2127.
“We are a great organization that believes in supporting and guiding our youth, honoring our veterans and helping our community,” Hodgdon said.
On June 14, Homer Elks celebrate Flag Day with events open to all, including a flag-carrying and gun salute ceremony at 3 p.m. An open house and barbecue starts at 4 p.m.
Stop by, meet Elks members, tour the facility and learn more about the great work that Homer Elks does for the community.
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