Leather Program

"So long as there are Veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
will never forget them"

The Elks Leather Program was initiated in 1948 when the Elks of California launched a hide-gathering program in their State during hunting season. The raw hides were collected at central points, salted and shipped to a Los Angeles tannery for processing. Finished leather, in brilliant colors, was made available to Veterans Medical facilities throughout the State.

To make this popular program available to all VA Medical Centers (VAMC), the Elks National Veterans Service Commission arranged funding to pay for tanning and shipping of the hides nationwide. Today, over nineteen States donate or are developing plans to support this program. All States are invited to donate hides, make use of the “Gloves for Wheelchair Veterans” program and participate in the tanned leather distribution.

Since the government does not budget money for leather for wheelchair gloves for veterans, it falls upon the Elks to keep the supply line open.

The Elks National Veterans Service Commission has pledged that: “While there is a committee of Elks on the job, therapists will never experience a shortage of leather”.

In order to continue Serving Our Nation’s Veterans, the donation of animal hides (which are abundant and often disposed of in many States) is an important part of the National Veterans Service Commission Leather Program.

Proper preparation of hides prior to shipment to the designated tannery is extremely important. Spoiled hides which are shipped to tanneries, must be discarded. This inflates the freight charges and causes unnecessary wasteful expenses.

How to Prepare Hides

Charles Forward
Veterans Leather Program Coordinator






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