Provo Elks Lodge continues long-standing History of championing charitable causes

For generations, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks #849, or simply the Provo Elks Lodge, has served the Utah Valley community in a number of amazing, generous charitable ways.

Established in 1903, the Provo Lodge has continually focused on raising funds for student scholarships, serving meals for the less fortunate, hosting clothing drives and much, much more.

Brenda Shaw, who is currently serving at the Exalted Ruler (president), listed just a few of the community-focused, service-related activities the Elks hosts every year. For example, the Lodge hosts an annual dinner the night before Thanksgiving where they serve delicious meals to hundreds of needy families in conjunction with Community Action Services and the Food & Care Coalition.

“We feed 500 to 600 people in the community,” Shaw said. “We feed them a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings.” After their dinner, the guests are then invited to “shop” for needed toiletries and clothing the lodge members have worked throughout the year to gather. “They are able to pick out just what they need,” she said.

The Women and Children’s Crisis Center and the Women’s Justice Center are also the regular recipients of donations gathered by the Elks members, as is Project Read and the local K-9 police units in the county.

Speaking of police units, every other year the Elks Lodge hosts a gratitude dinner honoring the Utah County Sheriffs, Orem and Provo City police officers. The dinner is funded through a grant from the Grand Lodge Elks National Fund. “We host a huge dinner party for them,” she said. “We really love highlighting our first responders.

The Elks Lodge also works closely with the Utah County Health Department and Intermountain Health to sponsor free flu shots for those residents who don’t have access to healthcare.

Lodge members also regularly host fundraiser events, the proceeds of which go toward scholarship funds for local, Utah Valley students. In fact, as a national organization, the Grand Lodge Elks National Fund gives out several million dollars a year in scholarship funds nationwide, second in the nation to the U.S. government.

In addition to all the charitable events, the Elks members also host youth events like the annual Hoop Shoot where students ages 8-13 from nearly 50 local schools participate in a free-throw contest. This fun event is designed to help build self-esteem and a sense of camaraderie as youth learn how to succeed as a team.

Members of the Provo Elks Lodge come from every walk of life, Shaw said. With members ranging in age, most of the 426 active members are between 40-50 years old. And, as of 2000, women are now allowed to be active members. That was a big transformation, Shaw said.

Many of the members, like Shaw, are considered legacy members -— their parents were once Elks and now they are members. And, as Shaw pointed out, many are watching their own children become members, too.

For anyone who is interested in learning about the Provo Elks Lodge and membership opportunities, visit or call 801-373-0849 ext. 10 or ext. 16 between the hours of 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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