Even with a pandemic, the Salem Elks lodge kept finding ways to give

The recently restored Povey Brothers Stained Glass window from the original Salem Elks lodge (Courtesy/Salem Elks)

Contributions made to Salem Elks Lodge No. 336 during 2020 helped the Oregon Elks organization secure fifth place in the nation for total charitable giving.

In 2019, Oregon ranked seventh.

“Despite unprecedented challenges last year from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the devastating wildfires that ravaged our state, Oregon members gave back more than $9.3 million to their local communities,” said Blake Whitson, spokesperson for the Salem lodge.

Oregon volunteers contributed more than 231,000 hours of their time, drove more than 617,000 miles in support of charitable activities and made more than $4.5 million in direct donations of funds or items, he said.

Salem lodge volunteers gave 8,486 hours of their time valued at $209,519. The amount is based on a wage of $24.69 per hour.

Workers drove 14,956 miles, and the lodge received cash and item donations totaling $52,517, equaling $207,261.

Oregon’s donation totals for 2020 ranked behind Florida with $34.1 million; New Jersey with $16.6 million; California with $16.5 million and Texas with $11.8 million.

Total charitable giving from the Elks national organizations for 2020 was more than $208.8 million.

Donations in Oregon were down in 2020 from the year before, Whitson said, because of a drop in volunteer hours and miles driven largely due to lockdowns and limits on how many people could be in one place.

“I know for Salem we had several projects we kept going with one or two people that in prior years we would have 10 or more helping,” he added.

In 2019, 15,825 hours were donated for a value of $390,719; miles driven were 50,204; cash and non-cash donations were $37,655 for a total of $455,986.

The primary focus of the Salem lodge, which marks its 125th anniversary this year, is to provide scholarships to high school seniors and to help homeless veterans and active duty service members and their families.

The lodge assists homeless veterans that are moving into stable housing by supplying them with basic household items, such as sheets, towels, dishes and pots and pans.

During the holidays, the lodge assists children of veterans and active duty service members by giving away Christmas presents and food boxes.

To learn more about the Elks organization, visit or find them on Facebook @OregonStateElksAssociation.

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