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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter:

St. Petersburg Elks Help Civitan Club Reach Special Goal

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On Saturday, Jan. 27, Dixie Hollins High School’s Civitan Club volunteered to serve the meal to the more than 300 attendees at St. Petersburg Lodge’s Soul Train Motown event. After the event, the lodge raised $514 for this great group of 14 kids who were donating their time and talent to raise funds for a very special cause. Their sponsor, Brenda Hankin, said that the Civitan Club will be donating the money to the Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education School located in Pinellas Park for the purchase of a Firefly Upsee. The cost of this harness is $499. The Upsee from Firefly is a harness that attaches to an adult and allows a child with motor impairment to stand upright and walk with the help of an adult. The harness is made up of three parts: an adult hip-belt, a child harness and shared sandals. The child fits into the harness, straps into the adult’s hip-belt and is helped into the shared sandals that connect to an adult’s feet.

Pictured are Civitan sponsor, Brenda Hankin; lodge members Geneva Hall and Ed White; and some of the Civitan members.


Veterans Help Tampa Lodge Use Promise Grant

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On Dec. 23, nine veterans from the Domiciliary volunteered as staff at the Christmas party for children who are less fortunate. The party was funded by the Promise Grant. The veterans were of great assistance and enjoyed themselves.


To thank them for their volunteer work, the nine veterans along with their tech and driver were treated to a dinner at a local restaurant. Three Elks accompanied them: Patty Jankiewicz, Veterans Chairman; Patty Volpe, Promise program manager; and Rita Smith, grant coordinator.


A Step-by-Step of Tampa Lodge's Beacon Grant Use

Tampa Elks ended the year using their Beacon Grant to help those who are homeless. They provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Take a look at the planning and execution of this much-needed service.

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Working on the Thanksgiving prep day at Open Arms Kitchen Nov. 14 were Loyal Knight Tommy Moore and PER Association President Courtney Weil.

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PER Courtney Weil did the Christmas food shopping at Restaurant Depot.

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Helping out on the Christmas prep day were Candace Suhrheinrich, Trustee Laura Jones, Loyal Knight Tommy Moore and PER Courtney Weil.


This is Reverend Vicki Walker, head of outreach.


 Clyde Is the postmaster. The homeless can use the church address and pick up mail Sunday mornings.


These are the greeters who hand out the gifts.

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This is Rita Smith who helped with the Christmas brunch.

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Manning stations were Patty Volpe keeping the homeless hydrated and PSP Frank Palladini and PDD Jeanne Reinhart serving coffee.


New Tampa Lodge member Tim Ryan and member Wendy Weiss and her friend John Bookless took the tray-scraper job.


Each Sunday fresh fruit is bagged for distribution.

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Serving front to back were Donna Halsey, Patty Volpe, Shelagh Gombarcik, Bob Suhrheinrich, Candi Suhrheinrich, Heidi Ray, Paul Simone, Michael Volpe, Frank Palladini, Laura Jones, Benda Stokking, Jodi Ryan and Elma Kelly.


This face makes all the work completely worth it.


Lodge #1224 Donates to Lady Outlaws Softball Team

For St. Petersburg Lodge’s New Year’s Eve bash, the servers were members of the Lady Outlaws softball team. The Lady Outlaws softball organization is a travel team based out of Pinellas County, Fla., that is dedicated to teaching girls the enjoyment of the fast-pitched game as well as the physical, mental and sportsmanship aspects of the game. For the 2018 season, the organization will field Lady Outlaws teams at the 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U age divisions. Lodge members and friends who attended the New Year’s Eve celebration which was chaired by Cathy Shriver, Leading Knight, were impressed with the young ladies’ attention to detail, great communication skills and ready smiles. The members in attendance donated $600 to these hardworking young ladies for their upcoming 2018 spring season.


St. Petersburg Elk Named Member of the Year for Pinellas Coalition Council of Safe Kids

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On Dec. 13 during the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition Christmas Luncheon at St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg Lodge member Martin Sharp was chosen as the Member of the Year for the Pinellas Coalition Council of Safe Kids. Pictured with him are Charlene Cobb, chairperson of Pinellas Coalition (left), and Petra Vybiralova Stanton, Johns Hopkins All Children’s supervisor to Pinellas Coalition (right). Sharp was also named Vice Chairman of the Pinellas Coalition and will hold the position until December 2019.

The Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, established in 1991, is led by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and serves five counties in the Tampa Bay area. The officers of each county meet quarterly to review the childhood injury data in each community to determine commonalities from which coalition-wide initiatives may be developed. The three current coalition-wide objectives are to decrease the number of drownings or near drownings of children five years and younger, to increase booster-seat usage in children up to 4’9” and approximately 80 pounds, and to increase properly fitted helmet usage in children younger than 16 years of age when riding bikes and for other wheeled sports.


St. Petersburg Lodge Delivers $8,200 Worth of Food Baskets

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On Saturday, Dec. 16, under the direction of chairman Martin Sharp, St. Petersburg Lodge volunteers put together 300 food baskets. The baskets were distributed to the following organizations:

Carol Barkalow’s Heaven on Earth for Veterans Inc. was given eight food baskets for their eight homes. Heaven on Earth focuses on providing high-quality living space for veterans in need.

Two food baskets were taken to families at Sequel Care of Florida which provides mental health and children’s targeted case management services for approximately 1,000 children and families in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

Twelve food baskets were delivered to families of whom St. Petersburg Elks sponsored.

The balance of the baskets went to Northside Baptist Church Food Ministry which the lodge has had a partnership with for many years. Northside Baptist has a food pantry that provides food to more than 2,400 families per year.

The excess food that was not included in the 300 baskets went to CASA’s food pantry; the pantries of the eight homes at Heaven On Earth for Veterans Inc. and to the Northside Baptist Food Ministry pantry. Extra toys went with the lodge-sponsored food baskets collected from Walgreens and donated by lodge members.

In order to fill the 300 baskets to give additional foods to the different organizations, the lodge used $6,500 in grants from the Gratitude Grant, Beacon Grant, Anniversary Grant and the State President Grant. The balance of food that was still needed was donated by lodge members which equated to well over $1,700 in food donations and gift cards for a total of $8,200 donated to the community.


St. Petersburg Lodge Holds Christmas Party for Kids

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On Saturday, Dec. 2, with their ongoing efforts of giving back to the community, St. Petersburg Lodge hosted their annual community kids’ Christmas party using the $2,500 Promise Grant. With the grant and deep discounts from Walgreens, lodge volunteers went Christmas shopping for educational toys, electronic cars, doll houses, soft and cuddly toys, and much more for kids ages 12 and younger.

The lodge set the mood with Christmas music provided by elf Johnny Miller and had activities for the kids such as face painting, decorating cookies, coloring and making balloons. Free lunch and dessert were served to the 137 kids in attendance and to the 143 parents/grandparents/elves who were present. Soon afterward, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived dressed in red fur from head to toe when they heard the sound of sleigh bells being rung by the excited boys and girls. Mrs. Claus called each child by name and Santa spent personal time with each child and gave them an especially selected toy bearing their name. During their vacation time, Mr. and Mrs. Claus are better known as Len Fromel and Tina Martell. The chairperson for this event was Cathy Shriver, Leading Knight.


St. Petersburg Lodge Surprises MSM Founder with Gifts for Kids

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On Dec. 2, St. Petersburg Lodge ER Bonnie Barnes presented Music Sweet Music founder, Ted Wagner, with $984 worth of toys to be distributed to kids in the program and to families they know of who are in need of toys. The donation was a total surprise to Wagner, and he was genuinely grateful for their generosity, time and effort. The gifts were purchased with funds from the Promise Grant.


New Port Richey Lodge News

New Port Richey Lodge paired with CARES (Community Aging & Retirement Services Inc.) to provide gently used or new shoes which are sent to impoverished countries and used to start up small businesses to help lift people out of poverty and provide sustainability for themselves and their families. A donation of $1,000 was also given to assist with their programs for the elderly of Pasco County.

On Nov. 9, New Port Richey Lodge held a fundraiser for A.F.I.R.E., a nondenominational adult day care training program dedicated to enhancing the skills, motivation, self-reliance and quality of life for adults with developmental and intellectual challenges in Pinellas County.


New Port Richey Elks Deliver Dictionaries to Elementary Schools

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New Port Richey Elks Lodge #2284 spent a lot of time helping local children recently. They donated $500 to the Pasco Fire Department to provide fire safety education materials for 200 children in Pasco County. Elroy the Elk visited Calusa Elementary School in October to reinforce the message of “Say No to Drugs.” Also, the lodge donated $1,000 to the school fund for family emergencies because the school serves an impoverished area. Members also donated school supplies and clothing to the school. Four local elementary schools also received 420 dictionaries from the lodge.

Pictured are Trustee Keith Hilchen, Schrader Elementary Principal Lee Anne Yearkey and Dictionary Project Chairman Margaret Smith.


Holiday Isles Lodge Bus Crawl Supports Major Projects

On Sept. 30, Holiday Isles Lodge member Katie Walker organized a bus crawl to four lodges to benefit the Harry-Anna Trust Fund. The event raised over $700. The first stop was Tampa Lodge for a made-to-order breakfast. Next was Dunedin/Clearwater Lodge where an appetizer buffet was enjoyed. Coffee and cookies were next at Largo Lodge. The final stop was at Seminole Lodge which was in the midst of celebrating their 43rd anniversary, but they still provided a warm welcome to their Holiday Isles guests. Thanks to the extra generosity of the lodge members, Walker was able to present a check for $1,000 to State President Carl Gerace during his visit to the lodge. The donation will benefit the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.


Tarpon Springs Ladies Fashion Show Helps Classrooms

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The Ladies of Elks of Tarpon Springs Lodge recently held a fashion show fundraiser. The money raised was used to sponsor two classrooms at Tarpon Springs Elementary. Pictured are ER Steven Lindhorst, Kathryn Conrad and Jennifer Monteverde.


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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