(951) 737-5211 Lodge or (951) 734-3090 Office <
(951) 737-5211 Lodge or (951) 734-3090 Office <
The Purple Pig is the fundraising arm of the California-Hawaii Elks Association Major Project, Inc. (CHEMPI). CHEMPI is a charitable organization serving children with disabilities and ensuring the future and well-being of our youth through its commitment.
This project was established to address the unmet needs of children with disabilities by developing a program of supporting services to aid these children at no cost to their families and without discrimination. Since its inception in 1950, The California-Hawaii Elks has raised over $116.2 MILLION
37 paid therapists and preschool vision screeners are hired by CHEMPI to help disabled children when no other organizations can or will. These therapists have traveled more than 11,729 miles in their work for CHEMPI.
The mission of the Elks National Foundation (ENF) is to help Elks build stronger communities. The ENF fulfills this pledge by investing in communities where Elks live and work. Since its inception, the ENF has contributed more than $500 million towards Elks charitable PROJECTS and PROGRAMS nationwide.
Elks will invest more than $35 million in approved program services for educational and patriotic community-minded programs. These funds will benefit veterans, physically challenged youth, Elks National Foundation scholarships, scouting, athletic teams, and physical and occupational therapy programs.
YOU HAVE HEARD THE TOLLING OF 11 STROKES.
THIS IS TO REMIND US THAT WITH ELKS,
THE HOUR OF 11 HAS A TENDER SIGNIFICANCE.
WHEREVER ELKS MAY ROAM,
WHATEVER THEIR LOT IN LIFE MAY BE,
WHEN THIS HOUR FALLS UPON THE DIAL OF NIGHT,
THE GREAT HEART OF ELKDOM SWELLS AND THROBS.
IT IS THE GOLDEN HOUR OF RECOLLECTION,
THE HOMECOMING OF THOSE WHO WANDER,
THE MYSTIC ROLL CALL OF THOSE WHO WILL COME NO MORE.
LIVING OR DEAD,
ELKS ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN, NEVER FORSAKEN.
MORNING AND NOON MAY PASS THEM BY,
THE LIGHT OF DAY SINK HEEDLESSLY IN THE WEST,
BUT ERE THE SHADOWS OF MIDNIGHT SHALL FALL,
THE CHIMES OF MEMORY WILL BE PEALING FORTH THE FRIENDLY MESSAGE.
"TO OUR ABSENT MEMBERS"
THE ORIGIN OF THE TOAST
Regarding the Elks' 11 O'clock Toast and its origin, we have to go back long before the BPOE came into existence. One of the main contributions of Charles Richardson -- in stage name of Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian and founder of the American branch of the Jolly Corks -- was to deliver in the hands of newborn Elks the rituals and traditions of a fraternal organization started in England around 1010 A.D., the Royal and Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB), to which he belonged before coming to New York.
The RAOB, or Buffaloes as we shall henceforth refer to them, also practiced an 11 o'clock toast in remembrance of the Battle of Hastings in October of 1066. Following his victory, William of Normandy imported a set of martial and civil rules to keep control of a seething Norman-Saxon population always on the edge of a revolution.
Among those rules was a curfew law requiring all watch fires and bonfires (basically all lights controlled by private citizens that could serve as signals) to be extinguished at 11 each night. From strategically placed watchtowers that also served as early fire-alarm posts, the call would go out to douse or shutter all lights and bank all fires. This also discouraged secret and treasonous meetings, as chimney sparks stood out against the black sky. When all doors were barred for the night, a person away from his home and out on the darkened streets risked great peril from either evildoers or patrolling militia.
The hour of 11 quickly acquired a somber meaning. In the centuries that followed, it became the synonym throughout Europe for someone on his deathbed or about to go into battle: i.e., "His family gathered around his bed at the 11th hour," or "the troops in the trenches hastily wrote notes to their families as the 11th hour approached when they must charge over the top."
Thus, when the 15 Jolly Corks (of whom seven were not native-born Americans) voted on February 16, 1868, to start a more formal and official organization, they were already aware of an almost universally prevalent sentiment about the mystic and haunting aura connected with the nightly hour of 11. It took no great eloquence by Vivian to establish a ritual toast similar of the of the Buffaloes at the next-to-last hour each day.
The great variety of 11 O'clock Toasts, including the Jolly Corks Toast, makes it clear that no fixed and official version existed until 1906-10. Given our theatrical origins, it was almost mandatory that the pre-1900 Elks would be expected to compose a beautiful toast extemporaneously at will. Regardless of the form, however, the custom is as old as the Elks.
At every meeting of the BPOE, and every social function, when the hour of 11:00 p.m. tolls, the Lodge conducts a charming ceremonial known as the "Eleven O'clock Toast." In fact, the clock tolling the eleventh hour is part of the BPOE official emblem and is directly behind the representation of an elk's head in the emblem of the Order.
Regular meetings of Subordinate Lodges have always been held a night. In the earlier days, they were usually held on Sunday nights and concluded at about eleven o'clock. As the participants departed, the Brothers inquired about the absent Brothers and expressed sympathetic interest in the causes of their absence.
It soon became a custom for some members to propose a toast to the Brothers who were not present. And in the course of time, this custom was quite generally observed whenever a group of Elks was together at eleven o'clock. Eventually, the Grand Lodge specifically provided for such a ceremony to be observed during Lodge sessions; and designated it as "The Eleven O'clock Toast.” Under this provision, whenever a Lodge was in session at that hour, the regular order of business was suspended for a few moments while the Exalted Ruler recited the beautiful ritual prescribed, concluded with the words: "To our absent Brothers."
Since women were permitted to join the Elks in 1995, the toast is now pronounced as "To our absent Members."