This is the tenth in a series of features exploring the world of service club organizations. They all have familiar names, but do you know what they really do? The name of each service club organization may evoke a particular memory from your past that describes what you think is their main activity in the community. This series will examine aspects of these groups that may not be as well-known to all of us but are very important to the people they serve. How did it all start? Again, the explanation is not so simple.
The Moose I am referring to is the Loyal Order of Moose. It all began on April 12th in 1888 when Dr. Henry Wilson founded the very first Moose Lodge in Louisville, Kentucky “to serve a modest goal of offering men an opportunity to gather socially, to care for one another’s needs and celebrate life together.” On the Moose International website quote the old saying “A burden heavy to one is borne lightly by many” and they say “that is the core of the Moose organization and what makes us unique in our lodges, local communities and charitable “cities” that we support.”
Now Moose International has a combined membership of over 1 million members in more than 1,500 communities, covering all 50 states in the US, 4 Canadian Provinces, along with Great Britain and Bermuda.
The Moose care for children and teens in need at Mooseheart Child City And School, a 1,000-acre campus, located 40 miles west of Chicago and care for senior Moose members at Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, Florida. The organization contributes between $75 to $100 million worth of community service which includes monetary donations, volunteer hours worked, and miles driven annually.
Another Moose program is Tommy Moose which aids in helping children overcome fears and anxiety during times of stress. The program features plush Tommy Moose dolls that are presented to children in various traumatic situations. Moose also support national charities such as Special Olympics North America, Salvation Army, Safe Surfin’ USA Foundation, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Quoting their website: ” The Moose is about celebrating life together, serving those in need within our community, supporting our children at Mooseheart and standing by our members at Moosehaven.”
My thanks to local Moose Lodge member Tom Asa for giving me the details of what is done locally by The Loyal Order of Moose. He explained to me that unlike many service club organizations the Moose organization doesn’t really have big fundraisers. They get their funds from donations by their members and the profits from renting out their lodge facilities to various groups for gatherings like banquets and parties.
One fact I didn’t know before talking to Tom is that Moose is divided into two chartered groups: the Moose (Men) and Women of the Moose. Locally the Women of the Moose help support The Women’s Shelter, Shelter Care, and the Relief Nursery, among others.
The Moose primarily support the Eugene Mission, Nursing School Scholarships through Lane Community College, and the Tommy Moose Program described earlier that is providing the stuffed moose characters to the Springfield Police Department to give out to children in distress situations like fire, violence, or other family issues.
The Springfield K-9 Unit will be visiting the Moose Lodge during the first week of February for a demonstration. At that time the Moose will be making a monetary contribution to the K-9 Unit and also will be donating 24 Tommy Moose plush characters for the police to give out to the children. They also work with the Willamette Leadership Academy.
Both the men and women of the Moose spend time working with our local Relay For Life. Every November the Moose start a giving tree. Members take a tag labeled with with a person’s age and gender. They purchase a gift and bring it back to the Lodge unwrapped or they can take an envelope for a cash donation. All donations are distributed through agencies such as Women’s Space and others. Moose members also donate blood to the Lane Blood center. As a matter of fact one member has over 250 donations of platelets used by Cancer and Leukemia patients. “Members of Moose Lodge #1726 and Women of the Moose Chapter #1440 try to assist our community in many small ways. These small steps assist in Moose International’s ‘Heart of the Community’ campaign. These include Lane Blood Center, Women’s Space, Relief Nursery, Eugene Mission, Shelter Care, Festival of Trees and others.” You can contact the Moose Lodge locally by calling: 541-746-3321.
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