On Dec. 1, Brooksville Elks Lodge members shopped for their annual Hernando County Foster Children's Christmas party with funds from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. There were 108 children from foster care and their parents in attendance. Children received gifts and parents were given gift cards to purchase food.
Shopping for gifts are Robert Hinton; Carr Hussey, Exalted Ruler; Nora Hughson; Doranda Hinton; Jane Hussey; Cindy Griffiths; Peter Berna and Sherry Mackeil.
On Oct. 17, Aripeka Elks Lodge #2520 presented two $500 checks to local organizations. One was to the Three Lakes RV Park, which works with Angela's House, a group home for adults who are severely disabled. The money will be used for supplies for everyday living fun. The other check was to the Kiddy Up Ranch, a nonprofit animal-facilitated program designed to address the emotional, social and cognitive goals of children. Pictured presenting the checks to organization representatives is Thomas Carlow, Exalted Ruler, right.
On Nov. 12, Zephyrhills Elks Lodge members hosted their Hoop Shoot at the Zephyrhills YMCA. Each contestant gets five practice shots. Then they throw 10 shots and then 15 shots. The contestant with the most baskets advances to the District Hoop Shoot for a chance at state and nationals. Channing Garcia, 8, from Zephyrhills RIP City travel team placed first in the 8-9-year-old category, scoring nine baskets. He plays offensive and defensive positions. For the first time in lodge history, there was a tense tiebreaker in the 12-13-year-old category. Jaymen Keeling and Joshua Oates competed to break their tie of nine baskets each. Jaymen Keeling, 12, from Dade City, plays on the Centennial Middle School Basketball Team as a power forward. Joshua Oates, 13, from Ridge Manor, plays center position for the RIP City travel team. Jaymen Keeling took first place, scoring three baskets in the tiebreaker with Joshua coming in second place. The kids and their families were invited to the lodge afterward for hot dogs, pizza, soda and cupcakes. The trophies were awarded and each participant received frisbees. Lodge volunteers included Bill Moorehouse, Hoop Shoot Lodge Chair; Ed DeBerri, referee; Aaden Moorehouse, ball retriever; Alice Perry, head scorekeeper; Barbara Conklin and Susan Slater, scorekeepers; and the ladies in the kitchen. Channing Garcia and Jaymen Keeling will compete in the District Hoop Shoot in Kissimmee Jan. 7.
Pictured are Joshua Oates, Jaymen Keeling and Channing Garcia.
As Zephyrhills Lodge Veterans Services Committee Chair, Ken Fabiani, PER receives food donations in addition to furnishings. Some of these he gives to the veterans, but he also shares some with a local ministry called Healing Hearts Café in Zephyrhills, Florida. The cafe feeds those who are food insecure, including those who are homeless, seniors, construction workers, workers who earn minimum wage and others. The facility is climate-controlled to avoid the heat or cold outside. There is a TV room with futons and recliners for a safe place to catch up on some sleep, and the TV broadcasts Christian programming. Any of the food that Fabiani donates or that the facility receives is served for the meals or is used in blessing boxes around Zephyrhills to help feed anyone who needs it.
Pictured are Ken Fabiani, PER and Donna Nelson, co-director of Healing Hearts Café.
On May 25 the packing crew from West Citrus Elks Lodge #2693 arrived at Citrus County Blessings in Lecanto, Florida, to pack 178 bags of weekend food for children. The crew also brought a donation for $2,000 from the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant. The donation was accepted by Christina Reed, executive director, and Rachelle Garret-Butler, program coordinator. The lodge has two groups of volunteers to pack food. The food is sent home with the children on Friday to be sure that they have enough to eat over the weekend.
Pictured are Beth Tarnowski, Shirley Gamache, Donna Hayes, Rick Jeroski, Bev Kelly and Jill Jerowki.