Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: May Graci

Elementary School Receives Supplies from Seminole Elks

2519 Mortka

Members of Seminole Elks Lodge #2519 believe an integral part of a child’s success in school is to make sure they have proper classroom supplies. In a project spearheaded by PER Tom Mortka, West Central District Drug Awareness Chairman, lodge members were able to present over 3,362 school supply items to Seminole Elementary School. The school was very pleased and grateful to receive the much-needed carload of school supplies.

Tom Mortka of Seminole Lodge delivers school supplies to teacher Ms. Schuler and principal, Mrs. Grasso.


New Port Richey Elks Donate to Lodge Softball Team

2284 Softball

Barbara Rodgers, Exalted Ruler, presented a check in the amount of $500 to the lodge’s 60-plus men’s softball team to purchase socks and shorts for their uniforms. Pictured are Vince Stroble, ER Barbara Rodgers, Rick Bertram and Jeff Holden.


New Port Richey Elks Donate to CARES

2284 CARES

New Port Richey Elks Lodge #2284 donated $1,000 to Community Aging & Retirement Services Inc. (CARES). CARES is a not-for-profit organization that provides services to older people and their families. They offer a broad spectrum of services and programs to help older adults live as they wish – independently in their homes.

Barbara Rodgers, Exalted Ruler, presents a check to Glenna Hileman, manager for the CARES center.


Largo Elks Put their Grants to Good Use

During the Grand Lodge convention, it was announced that a new grant was created to celebrate the order’s 150th anniversary. The Anniversary Grant is worth $1,500 and Largo Elks Lodge #2159 is proud to announce that it has already been awarded this grant. The money from this grant will be used to assist Pinellas Safe Harbor, an emergency homeless shelter and a jail diversion program designed to be a safe haven for those currently homeless and who require services to get back on their feet. They supply clothing and individual food products to the 400+ who walk through their doors every day.

Largo Lodge’s Gratitude Grant of $2,000 will be used for Boy Scout Troop #417 which is sponsored by the lodge. The Promise Grant of $2,000 will be used to promote the lodge work at Ponce De Leon Elementary School.


Tarpon Springs Lodge Feeds First Responders of Hurricane Irma

1719 Irma Lunch

Since the 1950s, Tarpon Springs Lodge has been used as an emergency operations center in case of emergencies and disasters. The lodge has always been open to members of the community in times of need but particularly when flood and hurricanes threaten the area. During Hurricane Irma, the lodge served over 100 meals to first responders such as city workers, police and firemen as well as infrastructure workers in electric, phone and internet. The lodge would have served more meals but their generator was taken away and used as a replacement on a pumping station. The lodge building is wired to accept the city’s power supply and therefore was able to provide walk-in coolers and food storage for the city.


Tarpon Springs Elks Use Grants to Donate to Local Schools

1719 Students

Utilizing the Beacon Grant and Gratitude Grant from 2016-2017, Tarpon Springs Elks Lodge #1719 made “Stuff the Bus” donations of backpacks, underwear, school supplies and beanbag chairs for student library centers totaling $4,500 to the following schools: $500 to Tarpon Springs High School, $1,000 to Tarpon Springs Middle School, $1,400 to Tarpon Springs Elementary, $800 to Anclote Elementary and $800 to Sunset Hills Elementary.

Kathryn Conrad, fifth-grade teacher at Tarpon Springs Elementary, is pictured with some students and their new beanbag chairs for their library.


News from Dunedin/Clearwater Elks

Dunedin/Clearwater Elks Lodge #1525 hosted the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce cocktail party and around 70 people were in attendance. The lodge had an opportunity to speak before all the attendees and explain to them what the Elks are all about. The lodge received five paid applications for membership.

Dunedin/Clearwater lodge delivered much-needed school supplies to San Jose Elementary School, whose mission is to create a safe learning environment which promotes academic excellence for college, career and life readiness through the partnership of students, families, staff and community.

The lodge also donated $500 to the Dunedin Scottish band that is planning a trip to visit their sister city in Scotland. Members of the band are all volunteers and donate their time and efforts to maintain their status as a first-class band that acts as ambassadors for the city of Dunedin and the state of Florida.


FSEA Dignitaries Help Tampa Elks Feed the Homeless

708 Soup Kitchen

On Sunday, Sept. 17, State President, Carl Gerace; Vice President at Large, Frank Malatesta; Chaplain, Phil Gersbach; West Central District Vice President, Theresa Matthews; and State Secretary/COO, Carl Seibert, helped Tampa Elks feed the homeless at Open Arms. It was the Tampa Elks’ week to serve as it is every third Sunday. PER Courtney Taylor, her dad and right-hand man, Whiz, were in the kitchen bright and early, and shortly thereafter all other regular volunteers began arriving. The major difference this month is that volunteers received a special apron with the State President’s motto on it. There were 120 homeless persons present, less numbers than in previous weeks due to some having to find special shelter during the hurricane, but as usual, these men and women were quite an interesting and mostly grateful lot. One of the church members took the FSEA dignitaries on a special tour of the grounds, showing them the clothing closet and the bicycle repair shop among other hotspots. The lodge receives matching funds for the project from the FSEA, and the lodge was glad to have the opportunity to see how those funds are helping their community. Open Arms accepts donations of nonperishable food, clothing (especially men’s), travel-size toiletries (like from hotels), any size towels or wash cloths, and “paper or plastic” plastic bags. They also appreciate the plastic food tubs that are used for the storage of ice cream, sour cream or deli food items that you would otherwise throw away.


Tampa Elks Youth Activities

Tampa Elks Lodge #708 began its third year with Club Chivalry of Robinson High School in Tampa for the 2017-2018 school year. The club student success sponsor is Kristina Chowning, an Elk at Tampa Lodge. At Robinson, Ms. Chowning founded Club Chivalry, a group that encourages student involvement with a name that plays off the school mascot, a knight, and the idea of Camelot.

On July 29 the lodge held a pirate-themed back-to-school party. The 100 children and their families in attendance had a meal, played games, did crafts, met Elroy the Elk and received school supplies.


St. Petersburg Elks Gather Donations for Hurricane Harvey Victims

1224 Harvey 2

On Sunday, Sept. 3, volunteers and members from St. Petersburg Lodge stopped by the lodge to start their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Members began to arrive at 1 p.m. to start dropping off supplies for the victims of this tremendous disaster. Member donations included personal toiletries for men and ladies such as new toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, and deodorant; household cleaning products; bottled water; diapers; baby wipes; dog food; and many other items as well as gift cards for the different stores for immediate necessities. No clothing articles were accepted at the time.

The lodge also collected $350 in donations which is being sent to the Harry-Anna Investment Hurricane Relief Fund.

St. Petersburg Elk members of the Wyoming Antelope Club, Marty Sharp, Paul Williams and Mike Smith, donated six large tarps (38' x 59'). That was 480 pounds of tarps.

This effort was organized by Georgette Keane and Dana Banning who had friends traveling to Houston and took a truck and trailer full of the items collected.


St. Petersburg Elks Donate to St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation

St. Anthonys Hospital Foundation

At the end of August, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $1,000 to help St. Anthony’s Health Care Foundation, better known as St. Anthony’s Hospital Foundation, which was incorporated in 1981 with the purpose of advancing the mission first established by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany – to provide excellence in medical care with an emphasis on compassion. The foundation assists individuals with memory disorders, diabetes and breast health issues. It also sponsors healing touch.


St. Petersburg Elks Host Back-to-School Splash

Once again this year, youth from St. Petersburg’s community entering kindergarten through 12th grade had the opportunity to receive free school supplies from St. Petersburg Lodge during their 2017 Back-to-School Splash that held August 6.

This year the event was chaired by PER Joanne Matos; volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure the lodge had supplies tailored for the different age groups. Lodge members donated very generously to supply students with backpacks, heavy-duty binders, lined paper stacks, composition books, pens, pencils, calculators, rulers, glue, crayons and more.

Matos stated that the lodge back-to-school pool party is “something that people look forward to, from families looking to save on their back-to-school budget to volunteers who get a sense of joy when they see the smiles from kids and parents as they receive school supplies.” This year the lodge had 122 children attend the event.

Besides the school supplies, game zones were set up for the children to play games with energetic dance music being played by Fifi, and of course there was plenty of swimming in the pool.


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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