Orlando Elks Lodge member Carmen Acevedo oversaw the lodge’s Drug Awareness Education poster contest. Entries were numerous and unique. On Oct. 31, a dinner reception was held at the lodge for the winners and their families as well as for school personnel. The top lodge winners will move on in the contest. Acevedo describes the winning posters. “The artwork was really impressive, particularly looking into the bones of the skeleton. Little Jude (first place winner) had a great eye for detail and can really put in perspective the poison drugs can inflict on a body that eventually leads to death. Also, Derek depicted how a child must be strong to say ‘no thanks’ in a society where alcohol, pills, marijuana and drugs can be in your own home, school and community. Even the message 9-year-old Kamryn gave, ‘Tweet Yourself with Respect,’ is actually very clever and adorable at the same time. There was a tie and Riley had an incredible attention to detail in showing what a person can achieve if they were drug free.”
Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 has completed a very successful summer of its Feed the Kids – Lunch on the Go program thanks to the Elks National Foundation Impact Grant and many generous donations. The volunteers made, packed and handed out 8,000 meals to local families – 3,290 more meals than were served last summer. This was the fifth summer that the lodge administered this program, but it was the first year that it was done on the go due to the pandemic. Elroy the Elk visited the kids on the day they each received a packet of drug awareness materials, and a dinosaur visited one day to give out the meals. Along with the meals furnished by the lodge, the lodge received a grant from the United Way which contracted with a local restaurant that provided 120 meals daily to give to the families. Local food pantry Harpervalleyson’s gave each family fresh produce and other food items two to three times a week. Local foundation Thomas Promise gave bags to each child weekly with enough food to cover the weekend. Local Rotary members gave out books to all the middle school and high school children at the end of the summer. This feeding program has truly become a whole community effort. On Aug. 16, a volunteer appreciation luncheon was held. A catered lunch was donated by a lodge member. The theme of the program was Be A Light. Donna Moyer, PER, program chair, talked to the group about how important the Elks believe it is to be a light in the world and make a difference in the lives of children. A memory board created by Ilene Nutting and Susan Slater with pictures and thank-you notes from the children was displayed at the luncheon. Pictured are Elroy the Elk aka David Moyer, PER; the dinosaur aka member Beth Impson along with Gladys Shepard, Irene Nutting and Shirley Reigler; Impson looking at the board; and the volunteer members and spouses.
Using a portion of its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, West Citrus Elks Lodge #2693 presented CASA (Citrus Abuse Shelter Association ) with $750 to help defray ongoing expenses. Also, with a portion of its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, the lodge supplied approximately $1,000 worth of food and supplies for use in the daily operation of the shelter. Pictured are Sunshine Arnold, CASA CEO, and Kris Estus, Exalted Ruler.
On Aug. 18, Florida’s primary day, Kissimmee Elks Lodge #1873 participated in the "Adopt a Precinct" program where Osceola County, Florida, rents part of the lodge building for election voting. Some members are trained to fill polling positions and they donate their salaries to the lodge. From the rent and poll workers’ salaries, $325 was split between the Elks National Foundation and the Harry-Anna Trust Fund which supports the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Pictured are the three members who worked the polls — Robert Husband, Steve Hebior and Bob Barry, PDD.
On Feb 8, Kissimmee Elks Lodge #1873 in partnership with the First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee held a winter gala charity event for both organizations. The church's portion went to their mission team that travels around the world helping those in need. The lodge will use its proceeds for the Elks National Foundation and the state Harry-Anna Trust Fund. Pictured are Terry Hebior, Exalted Ruler, and Jose Nieves, senior pastor.