Several years ago, recognizing a need to care for orphaned, abandoned, neglected, and abused children, a non-governmental child welfare organization was formed, which is now known as the SOS Children’s Villages
and provides loving, stable homes in over 132 countries around the world. They serve all children in need regardless of race, nationality, or creed. Every child is assured of the love and support of a surrogate parent with brothers and sisters, the opportunity to live in a permanent house, and the positive experience of being part of a larger village community. This prepares them to take their rightful place in society as happy, responsible, and productive adults.
That is precisely what the Independent Order of Odd Fellows did when our children’s homes were operating all over this country for more than a century. At one time the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs had 65 children’s homes in the U.S. and were caring for over 100,000 children. The SOS Village Organization at this time has 456 Villages serving over 58,000 children.
A partnership between the I.O.O.F. and The SOS Children’s Villages will be an ideal relationship between the two most dedicated, private, non-governmental, non-profit organizations in the world who are dedicated to protecting and nurturing orphans and all children in need. There are currently three SOS Villages in the United States and one in Cambodia, which opened in 2006.
Odd Fellow and Rebekah Homes
The first Odd Fellow Home was established in 1872 in Pennsylvania. A Children's Home was established in 1885 in Corsicana, Texas. The Home for the Aged, in Texas, was established in 1905 where many members of the Order, as well as non-members, have called "home". A Nursing Home was opened in 1962 as an annex to the Home for the Aged. In July 1989, a newly designed 120-bed, nursing home was opened. The Nursing Home is staffed by full time registered and LVN nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and on-call physicians.
Friendship Towers I & II
The Odd Fellow and Rebekah Friendship Towers, Inc. was chartered in 1978 to operate as a separate non-profit corporation. Texas has two Friendship Towers; one in Dallas with 150 apartments and another in Corsicana with 100 apartments. Residents must be retired or handicapped and be fully capable of caring for themselves. These homes feature a bedroom, private bathrooms, kitchen, living room, laundry facilities, and common areas for sitting and visiting on each floor.
Kidney Foundation of Texas
Texas Odd Fellows and Rebekahs joined with the Kidney Foundation of Texas to assist in fighting kidney disease. We proudly sponsor the Gift of Life Organ Donor Program and we urge each of our members to donate their kidneys upon their death.
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs contribute to Arthritis Foundation where funds aid in research to find the cause, ways to prevent, and treatment methods to fight this painful and crippling disease.
The Education Foundation of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows began on September 20, 1927. The purpose of the foundation is to operate a Revolving Loan Fund for students and is supported by donations to a trust. Low interest rate loans are made for two or four year programs at an accredited college or university and for study at any recognized trade school after completion of high school.
World Hunger and Disaster Fund
We demonstrate our obligation in "relieving the distressed" by providing funds for aid in natural disasters such as: tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires or earthquakes. This fund is supported entirely by donations and contributions by Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, and the need for donations is always eminent.
International Peace Garden
The Garden, dedicated in 1932, spreads over 888 acres of North Dakota and 1,451 acres of Manitoba Province. It commemorates more than 150 years of harmony and cooperation between two neighboring nations, the United States and Canada. Standing diagonally at the entrance to the Peace Garden, the majestic gates were designed and built for the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. One fourteen foot high native fieldstone pillar rises from Canadian soil and the other from United States soil. The gates bears the inscription: "THIS ENTRANCE BUILT AND DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE OF PEACE BY THE ODD FELLOWS AND REBEKAHS OF THE WORLD
". We take great pride in having contributed the largest single part of a non-governmental organization in the creation of the International Peace Garden.
Living Legacy Program
The Living Legacy Program was instituted in 1989 with the goal of planting trees to beautify the environment and improve our ecology. "Plant a tree for those who come after me". Many lodges have participated with their city Parks or Recreation Departments of School districts to plant trees in many areas where shade and environmental improvements would be appreciated. Often Lodges plant trees in honor of members who have passed away.