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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
 
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049
352-669-9443

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Florida Elks News Online

Daniel Masi

Happy fall! Time is quickly passing, and the holidays are just peeking around the corner. Florida Elks are always on the move and making a difference in your communities and supporting our two great major projects, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp, and our much-loved veterans! Thank you to you and all the other members for the time and support that you give to your lodges and to the Florida State Elks Association to make all events a remarkable success!

As many of you know, we have partnered with Walgreens over the last five years for the Walgreens-Elks Community Gift Drive. We started the program in the Tampa Bay area with 87 stores, growing the program to 139 stores as of 2021. This year I am proud to announce that we are expanding and as we start our sixth year, we now will be in 198 stores from Tampa Bay to Naples on the west coast of Florida! This is another way that the Florida State Elks Association continues to grow in our communities! We will continue to grow our partnership with Walgreens and hope to expand as years go on.

Elks Mouse Calls is another partnership that the Florida State Elks Association has established with the Kind Mouse Food Pantry. The Kind Mouse is a food pantry that feeds hungry children who sometimes have nothing to eat outside of school. Food will be sent home with the children over the weekend to make sure they are getting some proper nutrition. As you all know, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services treat many Florida children in need of the therapy services that we provide. Sometimes these families have fallen on challenging times. If a child receiving therapy is hungry, they will not be able to perform and concentrate if their tummies are not full. If the therapist treating this child feels that the family could use some extra aid with nutritional snacks, they can fill out a form with the information needed and it is submitted to the Kind Mouse. The Kind Mouse will then mail a variety of nutritional snacks and finger food to the therapist’s home so that the family can remain anonymous, and the therapist will deliver them on their next visit. This supplement box of nutritional snacks will contain enough for the family for a month, and they can receive this supplement for up to three months. Every month, the number of families changes as circumstances change. This service is provided to all our therapists throughout the state if they feel it is needed. It is another fantastic way that the Florida State Elks Association along with a partner is helping to make life a little easier for families in need!

We are starting the countdown to the next Unmasking Autism Gala — “The Power of Love” — that will be held April 22, 2023, at the St. Petersburg Bayfront Hilton. This gala is hosted by Florida Elks Charities, with all net proceeds going to Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Our therapists have noted that 50% of the children who are being treated by Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services are within the spectrum.

This event is a statewide premier event with a cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, guest speakers, silent and live auctions, and a chance to meet other Elks and others in our communities! Join us and learn more about raising awareness for the children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how we can enhance and expand our treatment of these children so that they can develop to their full potential. Let us show these children with ASD “The Power of Love” by raising awareness and funds to help with the treatment and the challenges that they are faced with each day, whether you want to just purchase your own tickets, help your lodge to purchase a table, sponsor a therapist or just donate. Lodges can raffle tickets to help pay for a table (five groups of 50 tickets at $10 each and draw after every 50 tickets sold and the winner receives two tickets). This event is one that you don’t want to miss! In the words of Mike Smith, PNP, “this was a world-class event!”

To kick off the countdown, we are asking that all lodges participate in the Heartbeats Campaign. This is a way to participate even if you are unable to attend the Unmasking Autism Gala due to scheduling conflicts. All lodges will be receiving 20 hearts to start the campaign, and you may always request more hearts by contacting me at
dan@floridaelks.org. For a small donation of $5, you will receive a heart, or you may choose to just donate to show your support to honor a child with autism spectrum disorder. All lodges that participate and return all monies made by March 25, 2023, will be placed in a drawing for two tickets to the gala and a one-night stay at the Bayfront Hilton! Your lodge can then do a raffle, choose who you would like to send or donate your tickets to the therapist in your district. Lodges that participate will also have their name placed on the banner at the Unmasking Autism Gala (which will also be displayed at the state convention) showing their support. Lodge names will be listed in the gala program and on the website UnmaskingAutism.com as well. All hearts will show the love and support for those with ASD. You have got this, Florida Elks!

Thank you to all the lodges that participated last year in the “star wars” campaign, with the top three lodges being St. Petersburg #1224, Arcadia Lodge #1524 and Hollywood West #2365! Let’s challenge these lodges this year and help your lodge have the most heartbeats by donations received for hearts! Every donation helps to make a difference!

Again, thank you, Florida Elks, and God bless you! I hope all Florida Elks in the path of Hurricane Ian stayed safe from harm’s way.

Dan Masi

Development Director