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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Richard E. Bardsley, PDD

Eustis Anna Miller Ladies Pack Record-Making Donation for The Haven

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On Jan. 18, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle met to pack a record-making donation for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. The Haven offers 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter for domestic and sexual violence victims and their minor children. Ongoing support and resources for the victims and their children are provided at no cost by The Haven. Twelve Anna Miller volunteers and four Elks packed 373 adult welcome kits and 74 children’s welcome kits along with gently worn suitcases and clothes for a total value of $6,249.50. The adult welcome kits contain travel-size soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, a razor and other small items they might need when first arriving at the center. The children’s kits contain shampoo, children’s soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, tissues, a small toy and other items children might need. Thanks to a generous contribution from a Ty Beanie Baby collector, this packing included 200 new Beanie Babies for the children.

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Winter Park Does Participate in their First Parade

On Dec. 2, BPO Does Drove #86 participated in the 65th annual Winter Park Christmas parade. This was a first for the drove and a great opportunity to expose them to the community. The weather was great and all had a wonderful time.


South Lake Elks Host Christmas Party for 200 Children

During the holiday season, South Lake Elks Lodge #1848 actively supported the community while renovating their new lodge facility. The lodge hosted a Christmas party for over 200 children and their families and gave out gifts. The new lodge is now open and membership is climbing.


South Marion-Villages Lodge Holds 20th Children's Christmas Party

For 20 years, South Marion-Villages Lodge member Patty Connolly, with the help of Winter Park and Winter Garden lodges, has hosted a children’s Christmas party. Helpers shop, wrap gifts, stuff stockings, cook and donate their time to help children have a very merry Christmas. The party included riding a rocking horse, enjoying lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, having their face painted, having balloons made into animals, and hanging out with Star Wars characters. The children are asked to send Santa a letter telling him what they would really like for Christmas. The goal is to make sure that all the children open gifts that would make their Christmas memorable.


Inverness Elks Stay Involved in Community

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Inverness Elks Lodge #2522 continues to sponsor a poster contest at Hernando Elementary School and an essay contest at Lecanto Middle School for drug awareness education. Pictured are the winners along with teacher Jennifer Berbert and Drug Awareness Chairman, Jim Manos.

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As part of Inverness Lodge’s participation in the Elks’ 150th anniversary celebration, the lodge will hold a raffle for a piece of Elks history. PER Ray Fink generously donated a Jim Beam 100th anniversary Elks decanter that is still sealed and in perfect condition. The winning ticket will be drawn as part of their anniversary open house and membership drive.

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Inverness Lodge donated $500 to the Citrus County Education Foundation which meets the educational needs of students in Citrus County. Pictured are lodge officers Bill McAvay, Richard Grosnick and Anthony Kopka presenting the check to Shaundra Burdett, Executive Director of CCEF.

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Using a Beacon Grant from the Elks National Foundation, Inverness Lodge partnered with West Citrus Lodge for the third year to serve dinner and throw a Christmas party for Citrus County Foster Parents Association. Along with music, a coloring area, face-painting and a balloon artist, Santa and Mrs. Claus and their elves made an appearance and gave each child gifts from their wish lists. Volunteers Herb Yates, Jim and Nan Smardon, Arlene Lombardo, Pat Guthrie, Marge Rozens, Frank Baranco, Pat Anson, Tammy Rouch and Jenny Smith pose with Richard “Santa” Grosnick and Jan “Mrs. Claus” Belland at the Inverness and West Citrus joint Christmas party for Citrus County Foster Parents Association.


Generous Donor Allows Eustis Anna Miller Circle to Help The Haven

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Because of a generous donation from Elaine Smialek, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle was able to donate a check for $1,000 to The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties to purchase replacement mattresses that are greatly needed at the shelter. The Executive Director of The Haven, Kelly Smallridge, has a fundraising walk scheduled in February to purchase 17 new mattresses. She said this donation will give them a much-needed start on that goal.

Pictured are Haven Executive Director, Kelly Smallridge (center), and Sherry Piskadlo and Suzanne Cunningham, co-chairs of The Haven Project for Eustis Anna Miller Circle.


Winter Park Elks are Staying Busy

Winter Park Elks Lodge #1830 hosted their second spaghetti dinner to benefit a local high school football team. Team members invite their family, friends, classmates and neighbors to the lodge for fun, food and camaraderie. The team sets up, serves and cleans up; they also support the lodge at events.

A service provider asked Winter Park Lodge to assist a local child who needed therapy. After conferring with Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, the lodge purchased a $1,500 trike which was presented at a dinner to a little boy named Saul, a boy with special needs, by ER Vivian Thomas and Therapy Services Director, Colleen Gallant.


Lodge #2730 Holds Back-to-School Event

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South Marion-Villages Elks Lodge #2730 held a free back-to-school bash and school supply giveaway for students. Each child was given a backpack and age-appropriate school supplies. The Belleview Police came and played with the kids in the bounce house. The lodge served hot dogs and chips for lunch. The Belleview Elementary principal and a few teachers helped hand out school supplies. The parents and children left happy and excited for the upcoming school year.


Eustis Elks and Ladies Remain Charitably Active

The Eustis Anna Miller Circle provided two area elementary schools with school supplies. In addition, they are making and have given some blankets to young Autistic children.

The Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services regional therapist saw a need in the Northeast District and acted on it by informing Eustis Lodge of the need. The lodge donated $500 for the family of a young girl in Jacksonville to provide them with a wheel carrier for their car and to have it completely installed on the family vehicle.

Eustis Lodge has cooked a spaghetti dinner including a salad and garlic toast for the Eustis High School junior varsity football team every week of their season.

Eustis Lodge also donated $450 to New Vision for a typing program for the blind that will support 35 people.


Inverness Elks Pack Backpacks for Local Students

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Inverness Elks Lodge’s Backpack for Success program supplied backpacks and school supplies to needy students. The program is funded by an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant along with a donation of 20 backpacks from Daystar Life Center. Lodge volunteers put together grade-appropriate backpacks with school supplies for the Citrus County Foster Parent Association, seven area high schools and middle schools, Guardian ad Litum, and Citrus United Basket. In the three years since the program started, the number of students helped has more than doubled.

Inverness Lodge presented back-to-school backpacks to the Citrus County Foster Parent Association. Pictured are Elba Jiminez and Debbie King from the CCFPA along with Elk volunteers Fern McAvay, Bill McAvay, Jan Belland and Richard Grosnick.


Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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