The Florida State Elks Association, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded in 1904. It is a voluntary association of Elks Lodges and all Florida Lodges are eligible for membership.

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Florida Elks News Online

District Reporter: Charles R. Stieb

Bradenton Elks Celebrate Flag Day


Lodge #1854 Donates Bikes to Reading Incentive Program

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Venice-Nokomis Lodge donated $1,500 to the Laurel Civic Center for their summer camp for needy children and $400 in supplies to the Sarasota Sheriff’s Youth Camp for their children’s summer camp. The lodge also donated 20 bicycles to Laurel Nokomis Elementary School for the reading incentive program. Picture: 1854 bikes Caption:

Pictured with bicycles that Venice-Nokomis Lodge donated to an elementary school reading program are Michael Pisciotti and Ken Bird, PER.


Venice-Nokomis Elks Hoop Shoot Sponsor Receives City Pin

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One of Venice-Nokomis Lodge’s Hoop Shoot contestants, Ellie DiGiacomo, made it to the national championship. She has qualified for the last five years to go to the regionals in Valdosta, Ga. Venice mayor, John Holic, presented Ellie with the city of Venice pin.


South Hillsborough Elks Hold Flag Day Salute

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South Hillsborough Lodge held their Flag Day salute June 11 at the lodge. The flags were presented by BSA Scout Troop 661 and Terry Ricket was chairman. In 1907, The Grand Lodge adopted June 14 as Flag Day. In 1908 at a Grand Lodge session in Dallas, a Flag Day ritual was presented and adopted. In 1911 in Atlantic City, it was made mandatory for all Elks lodges to hold a Flag Day ceremony. In 1949, the Elks were instrumental in getting June 14 declared a national holiday. President Truman signed the order in 1949.

Participating in South Hillsborough Lodge’s Flag Day salute were Matthew Cardoza, Karen Leonard, Travis Smith, Matthew Leonard, Marc Cardoza, Robert Leonard II, Scoutmaster Robert Leonard, David Aussendorf and Connor Mortus.


Manasota Happenings

Manasota Elks Lodge gave a Flag Day presentation to the Boys & Girls Club at Oneco Elementary School. The lodge worked with this group for at least five years providing supplies for them to make lap robes for Bay Pines patients. The lodge is also working with grant money to assist the school in expanding their program by planting a garden. Lodge member Marie Mueller, chairman of these programs, is also an employee of the school.


Bradenton Elks News

Bradenton Elks Lodge held their annual Flag Day ceremony June 11. The Civil Air Patrol Jr. Cadets posted the flags. The lodge also held a Court of Honor for Kenny Tom who earned his Eagle Scout badge. During Youth Week, Bradenton Lodge welcomed Inspiration Academy Baseball Team members and their families to the lodge and hosted the academy’s annual breakfast banquet.


Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Read to First Graders about Safety

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Members of Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge #2855 read “Let’s B Safe” books to first graders at Gene Witt and Freedom Elementary Schools. These books help children remember the rules about stranger danger and other safety rules. With the help of a Gratitude Grant, the readers presented each child with a book and a bee to take home.


South Hillsborough Elks Present Award to Eagle Scout

2672 eagle scoutOn April 29, South Hillsborough Lodge presented Robert Leonard Jr. a special award for obtaining the highest level of accomplishment in the Boy Scouts of America, that of Eagle Scout. Leonard is a member of Boy Scout Troop 661 and is the 56th Eagle Scout from that troop. In additional to the certificate, he received a $50 check in his name for the troop and an American flag. South Hillsborough Exalted Ruler, John Fasick, presented the award.








South Hillsborough Elks Hold Easter Event for Kids

2672 EasterOn April 15, South Hillsborough Elks Lodge #2672 held an Easter event for kids ages one through 12 at the lodge. Over 40 children were treated to egg hunts, sack races, egg races, face paintings and a special visit by the Easter Bunny. Hot dogs, chips, soda and juice were served at lunch. Amanda Kirton was chairman of the event and had 20 volunteers helping.


South Hillsborough Elks Promote Elks Programs

2672 collageSouth Hillsborough Elks Lodge #2672 held a membership drive March 18 with Elroy the Elk and the Elk drug awareness trailer. Hot dogs, chips and soda pop were served. Two new members were signed up with many prospects for the future.

The lodge also had booths at the Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts & Music at Simmons Park March 11-12 and March 30 at the Sun City Center Community Spring Expo in Sun City Center, Fla. Their mission was to spread the word about Elkdom.


Bradenton Elks Award Americanism Essay Contest Winners

Bradenton Lodge Exalted Ruler, Susan Erwin, presented awards to this year's Americanism essay contest winners, all from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. First-place winners received checks and plaques. Second-place and third-place winners were presented with checks.

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Bradenton Lodge Americanism essay contest winners in the fifth and sixth grade division, left to right, are Lyia Lester, second place; Gary Klein, third place and Iakob Ibragimor, first place.










1511 Americanism 7 8Bradenton Lodge Americanism essay contest winners in the seventh and eighth grade division, left to right, are McKenna Gunn, third place; Emma Craig, second place and Anusha Singh, first place. Pictured with them is ER Susan Erwin.








EFELT Continues to Fight Child Hunger with its Backpack Program

EFELT backpackElks Feeding Empty Little Tummies Inc. (EFELT) is a 501c3 incorporated business sponsored by Bradenton Elks Lodge #1511. In 2012 they were joined by Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855. The program started in August 2010, and by January 2011, they began providing meals, snacks, drinks, bread and other nonperishable foods to elementary school children who are homeless and/or living in food-deprived households. This is accomplished through a backpack program in cooperation with the Manatee County School System and the teachers. The food they provide is nonperishable and consists of six complete meals of two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, snacks, drinks and a loaf of bread. Some of these children reside in the back of cars, in group homes or motels. Many of these children are in Title One schools, hence breakfast and lunch is provided at the school they attend. Unfortunately, over the weekend these children typically go without food, and going to school hungry Monday makes it hard to focus. These children are missing essential nutrition which can stunt their physical development, affect grades and cause behavioral problems such as anxiety and anger.

All monies obtained through the Elks National Foundation, other grants, philanthropy, benefits and donations go to purchasing food, as EFELT has no administrative expense; all costs such as manpower, mileage, gasoline and paper are voluntary, donated and given in-kind. Their goal is not only to provide for as many children as they can afford through grants and donations of money and/or food but also to raise awareness in their community of the needs of these homeless children and to raise awareness of the Elks.

The school board identifies the children in need and EFELT provides six full meals of nonperishable food through a discreet process where the child’s name and whereabouts is not revealed. Food and snacks are processed by more than 120 volunteers at two sites in Manatee County, Fla., placed in backpacks and delivered to the schools on Fridays for distribution.

On Jan. 6, 2011, they started by providing food to 60 children in two elementary schools, and by January 2017 they have expanded to 850 children in 13 schools. Since the program’s beginning, they have provided 113,576 children between the ages of 5 and 12 with 681,456 meals containing 1,303,060 items which equate to 227 tons of food. Since Jan. 6, 2011, their 125 volunteers including the EFELT Board of Directors have spent 38,337 hours and have driven 144,774 miles (including delivery of the backpacks). That is $1,143,592.71 in-kind wage and $84,014.90 in-kind mileage at IRS allowable.

They are aware of 65 lodges in 20 states that are emulating the EFELT project or participating with other community backpack projects. The Elks have also assisted five lodges in five different states start a similar program. The program has brought in 48 new members in both lodges.

The problem of poverty is pervasive and can be overwhelming. Around the world, more than one billion people are malnourished. An estimated 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day and every day children are dying just because they don’t have enough food to eat. One out of every five children in the United States lives at or below the poverty level and the USDA estimates that 17.8% of all children in Florida are food-deprived. That's a tragedy that should not occur. Unfortunately, the children suffer the most. No child should suffer from hunger, especially when Elks can do something about it!

To learn more about this important work, please visit


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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