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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Jack McClurken

Vero Beach Lodge Donates Impact Grant to Vero Beach Elementary

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The Vero Beach Elks Lodge’s “Elks Love Kids of Character” Community Improvement Project at Vero Beach Elementary has been chosen to be funded for a fourth consecutive year with a $10,000 Impact Grant for 2018. Michele Klager, Vero Beach Elks Impact Grant manager, helped make this possible. Pictured are Michele Klager, Flo Synenko, Linda Bigelow, Cindy Emerson, Principal Paul Diaz, Exalted Ruler Rachel Morrey, Assistant Principal Pat Diaz, Kathi Miller and Deb Stuller.

Students are rewarded for good grades, politeness, sharing, following directions, focus and good behavior. The lodge goal has been to help the school with behavior problems, morale and grades by stocking their positive-behavior store, named Elks Love Kids of Character Store, with meaningful rewards that also help struggling households by providing school supplies, engaging toys and snacks. The grant also funds school uniforms and books. The majority of this school’s students live in poverty.


Viera Elks Lodge Hosts Party for Children with Autism

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With a Promise Grant, Viera Elks Lodge #2817 hosted a Christmas party for the SOAK organization (Support Our Autistic Kids). Gifts were provided for 49 children as well as lunch for the children and their parents. Lodge member Bill O’Dell provided Christmas music while PER Paul Bonville played Santa and handed out goodie bags to each child.

Viera Lodge hosted a fun day for 10 children from the Wheelchairs for Kids organization along with their parents and siblings. The kids were introduced to two Brevard County Sheriff’s officers and their K-9 partners as well as having a visit from a fire engine and firefighters from Brevard County Fire & Rescue Station #80. Lunch and games were provided by the lodge.


Vero Beach Elks Provide a Special Christmas for Children

Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 had another successful Toys for Tots dinner dance in conjunction with the local Marine Corps. This lodge is known to be the top contributor for the last six years in donating bicycles, scooters and helmets to area children.

Vero Beach Lodge had excess Impact Grant funds due to Hurricane Irma so they purchased Walmart gift cards for Vero Beach Elementary School children who live at the Hope for Families Center homeless family shelter. Lodge members signed 56 Christmas cards and enclosed a $25 gift card in each. Distributors were Kathi Karinja and Margaret Hearndon from Vero Beach Elementary; Michele Klager, Lodge Impact Grant manager; and Debra Catapano from the Hope for Families Center.

Vero Beach Lodge held its annual Christmas Party for Wabasso School, a school dedicated to education for children with special needs ages 8-18. Pictured with Santa is one of the students.


West St. Lucie Elks Hand Out Drug Awareness Bags for Halloween

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For Halloween, West St. Lucie Lodge filled 900 drug awareness bags with candy donated by members. Elroy the Elk greeted costumed children as members handed out the treats and informational pamphlets. Pictured are ER Dee Milhausen and Elroy the Elk (Marge Spera).


West St. Lucie Elks Hold Hoop Shoot

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On Oct. 22, West St. Lucie Elks Lodge #2823 held their Hoop Shoot. Participants received achievement awards. Trophies were given to winners and they will advance to the next round of the Hoop Shoot competition. Pictured is Esquire John Colister with one of the winners.


Port St. Lucie Elks Hold Labor Day Picnic and Membership Drive

The Labor Day picnic and membership drive at Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge #2658 was a great success; they received 27 membership applications. Many volunteers helped to make this such a wonderful and successful day, including Lynn Tripoli and Ed Rahrig who provided the fantastic food. There was a chili cookoff with 10 entries and a $50 gift card for the winner, Jeff Chambers. There was a bounce house and games for the kids. The kids and the adults loved the snow cones, cotton candy and popcorn. The Boy Scouts helped out. There was a Chinese auction with 48 baskets including wine baskets, gift certificates for music lessons, a jewelry basket, a hand bag, a beer basket, car care baskets, kids baskets, Italian baskets and much more. Terry Rahrig had a citizen application quiz for both kids and adults and only one person got 100%. Members donated sweets for a cake sale and its proceeds will benefit the lodge’s charities such as Grace Pack and veterans. Members and guests enjoyed the music by DJ Ralph. The lodge was filled with much camaraderie and patriotic spirit.


Vero Beach to Purchase a Dictionary for All Vero Beach Third-Graders

Vero Beach Lodge is buying a new dictionary for all third-graders living in Vero Beach. Exalted Ruler, Paul Diaz, the force behind this project, recently met with the Indian River County District Coordinator for elementary education. The district is fully on board with the program and will supply all info necessary for the lodge to order the proper number of dictionaries. Ms. Kelly Baysura, coordinator, plans to attend some of the presentations and get the district’s public relations department involved as well. At present, the lodge will need to order about 1,400 dictionaries costing approximately $3,400. Thanks to the Gratitude and Anniversary Grants from the Elks National Foundation and funds from the lodge’s Kards 4 Kids charity Texas Hold’em tournaments, they have the funds to make the purchase.


Stuart-Jensen Elks Happenings

Stuart-Jensen Elks Lodge #1870 held the annual Christmas in July party and hosted wheelchair-bound veterans from the VA hospital for lunch and bingo. They have also started their Elks Hearts Packs program again, feeding 72 kids each week at the Felix A. Williams school in Jensen Beach, Fla.


Sebastian Elks Raise Funds for Member in Need

In August, Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 rallied the membership and the community in support of lodge member Wayne Snow who is going through difficult financial times because of medical issues. Snow is very active in the lodge and the community. He is a member of the Sebastian Clambake Committee and assists with the football and soccer teams at Sebastian River High School. Over 400 people attended the fundraiser held at the lodge that was sponsored by lodge members, the Sebastian El-Does and members of the community. The benefit spaghetti dinner, raffles and auctions combined raised over $17,000 and the funds were used to assist with his medical bills.


Sebastian Elks Welcome 22 New Members


At a special meeting held Sunday, Sept. 24, Sebastian Lodge #2714 welcomed 22 new members to the order and their lodge. With nearly 100 family members, friends, officers and members in attendance, the new members completed their Initiation and attended the welcome reception in the lodge social quarters following the ceremony.


Vero Beach Elks Hosted Brotherhood Ride

On July 27-28, Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 hosted members of the Brotherhood Ride which consist of police officers, firefighters and emergency care members who ride bicycles to honor those who have died in the line of duty. This organization’s sole purpose is to provide emotional and financial support to the families of fallen public safety officers. The 2017 ride honored 10 fallen heroes from Florida who died in the line of duty in 2016 while protecting their communities.

The lodge provided dinner for approximately 55 individuals. They stayed overnight in the lodge hall sleeping on their own air mattresses. On Friday morning, the lodge served them breakfast before they proceeded on their ride.

The Brotherhood Ride has been working with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks for many years. One of the firefighters who participated is a Past Exalted Ruler. Exalted Ruler, Paul Diaz, PER, and PDD Jack McClurken coordinated the event. Many lodge members turned out to welcome the riders, feed them, purchase shirts and hats, and donate to the ride. The Vero Beach Police and Fire Departments were also involved in welcoming the contingent.


Melbourne Elks Donate Gratitude Grant to Local Food Bank

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Melbourne Elks Lodge #1744 awarded Greg Hanson, General Manager of Second Harvest Food Bank of Brevard County, with a $2,500 Gratitude Grant. The grant will be allocated among 10 agencies in the Melbourne/Palm Bay area that utilize Second Harvest as their main resource of food. As $2,500 equates to 13,890 pounds of food or 11,570 meals, this will be a great boost to the pantries struggling to keep their shelves stocked. Further, in Brevard County, approximately 15.6% of the population, which is over 86,000 people, are food insecure and do not know with certainty that they will have enough food to eat on any given day.

In a 2017 survey by the Florida Department of Education, of the 73,300 students attending Brevard County Public Schools that day, over 33,000 of them were eligible for a free or reduced-cost school lunch program, which is approximately 45% of the students. This grant will be used to help fight hunger.

Joyce Madden (left), Melbourne Exalted Ruler, and Tom Wojnar (right), chairman who spearheaded the effort in obtaining this grant, present recipient, Greg Hanson, a $2,500 Gratitude Grant for the Second HarvestFood Bank of Brevard County.


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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