The Hoop Shoot, school supply drive, reading program, Brotherly Love, free coats for those in need, scholarships, all of these and more will be lost if the Shelby Elks Club loses its charter. There is also the $10,000 in grants the organization obtains each year and puts back into the community through food banks and other programs in need. The community might not realize it, but losing this fantastic organization would definitely hurt.

“We need members to come and become officers,” said Elks secretary Sherry Cullen. “We need active members to keep our charter. Our state representative and district deputy got a hold of us and told us that we have to have a quorum at our meetings and right now we do not.”

The Grand Lodge by-laws state that three officers must be present at every meeting. The next meeting is coming up on Jan. 12, a very important meeting that will decide the future of the Shelby Elks charter. 

“At the next meeting, on Jan. 12, if we don’t have members stepping up to be officers on the 13th we will be done because they will pull our charter,” said Cullen.

The Elks building is currently closed and after no participation or input from the Nov. 10 meeting the state rep and District Deputy decided it was time to sell the building. The Lodge has been closed for weeks now due to lack of funds and not being able to find a bartender.

“After two months of looking to fill the bartender position we still didn’t have one,” said Cullen. “There are other places we can meet, so long as we still have our charter.”

Becoming an Elks member is not hard nor is it expensive. The dues total $77 a year and there are two meetings a month, the second and fourth Tuesdays, at 7 p.m. It is a civic organization, so volunteering time for different events is also a must. There isn’t enough time for new members to be inducted into the Elks before the Jan. 12 meeting, but anyone wishing to join can start the process by contacting Cullen at (406) 460-2821.

“You need to be able to donate time, and not just for meetings,” Cullen added.

There are currently 99 members, but only seven are active and all seven are long standing members who have donated countless hours over the years. While they are still willing to continue doing so, help is needed to keep things going. Mainly, officers are needed and the non-active members are asked to please step up and become active and fill an officer position to keep the charter.

“Even if they aren’t active members their yearly dues help the charter,” said Cullen. “The officers are the only ones required to attend the meetings and we need three of them. They need to be willing to come to every meeting and be active.”

So many things are influenced and possible in the community due to the Elks sponsoring and participation. The annual craft fair is another event that will be lost if the Elks lose their charter. The proceeds from the craft fair all go into the Elks scholarship fund. Without the charter and the fundraising there will no longer be a scholarship fund.

A civic organization that is dedicated to the community is not something anyone should want to risk losing. As of right now that is where things are at. Shelby does not have to lose its charter, but in order to save it people need to step up and give back to the organization that gives so much.

If you are interested in becoming a member you can check out what all it involves by visiting elks.org or get ahold of Sherry or Mike Cullen. You do not have to wait until the Jan. 12 meeting to sign up, you can at any time by getting ahold of Cullen at (406) 460-2821.

“The Jan. 12 meeting is very important,” concluded Cullen. “If no one shows up or is willing to be an officer then we will lose our charter. We are willing to help new members with whatever. If we can help, let us know.”

If you’ve ever had any interest in the Elks or want to give back to your community now is the time to step up and take the first step forward, that of becoming a member, or, if you already are, becoming an officer and being active in the organization. Attend the Jan. 12 meeting, starting at 7 p.m., at the Elks Lodge, or call (406) 460-2821 to become a member of this fantastic organization. 

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