On Feb. 11, the Anna Miller Circle of Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 held its annual cake auction to raise funds for the Harry-Anna Trust Fund to benefit Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp. More than 45 cakes, pies and other beautiful desserts were displayed for auction. Ron Locke, PDD, Exalted Ruler, was the auctioneer while Beverly Dufresne, Anna Miller board member, displayed the cakes and collected the donations. With the money raised from the auction and the willingness of Locke and Colleen Gallant, PDD, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services Director, to take a whipped cream pie to the face for donations, a total of $3,025 was raised.
Pictured are the dessert table and attendees.
Using its $3,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant and $122 from the lodge charity account, Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 provided Rifton Compass Chairs and accessories to students with special needs at Lake Hills School in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. This school serves a 100% disabled population in Lake County, Florida. The chairs increase the posture and safety of both the students and the staff who assist them to and from their mobility chairs. Pictured Feb. 14 are Dee Borwegen, lodge trustee; Robin Myers, principal; and Bo Borwegen, PER, lodge trustee.
On Dec. 10 Eustis Lodge held its annual children’s Christmas party for Elks children and grandchildren as well as for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services patients and underprivileged local children. There were nearly 100 children in attendance. Santa and Mrs. Claus (members Glen and Daisy Waterman) and their elf (member Darla Orr) were there and Santa gave gifts to all the children. There were games and crafts, too. The Drug Awareness Committee gave out Elks Drug Awareness coloring books, lodge Drug Awareness pencils and crayons, all in Elks Drug Awareness bags. Lunch was provided to everyone. The party was funded by the lodge charity account.
Pictured are three children visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Eustis Lodge Anna Miller Circle members packed 25 Thanksgiving gift bags Nov. 17 for Triangle Elementary students and their families. Bags included everything necessary for a full Thanksgiving dinner except the turkey. The group provided $25 gift cards so families could select the meat of their choice. Triangle Elementary selects the families who receive the meals. Items for the bags were contributed by Anna Miller Circle members and lodge members throughout November. Donations were valued at over $2,000.
Pictured Nov. 18 at the school delivery are Officer Jean; Chris Getchell, Anna Miller Circle President; students Liam, Steve and Colton; and Tiffany Dickson, school mental health liaison.
On Nov. 14, three Eustis Lodge Anna Miller Circle members and one lodge member met at the lodge to pack welcome kits for residents of The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, a shelter for rape and domestic assault survivors and their children. The welcome kits are one-quart bags containing soap, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturizer, mouthwash and other travel-size items for adults. The children's welcome kits contain the same items as well as a small toy, lip balm and hand sanitizer. They packed 100 adult kits and 100 children’s kits. Also included were puzzles, toys, handmade blankets, birthday kits and 59 full-size toiletries. At the Haven's request, they also provided 14 sweatpants, 17 T-shirts, 12 pairs of flip-flops, nine sports bras, 20 pairs of underwear, one sweatshirt, six pairs of socks, 75 small soaps, 75 lotions, three cases of water, three cases of Gatorade and three boxes of crackers. All of the above items were given to the three nurses who care for rape survivors who must give up the clothes they are wearing during the exam. This donation was valued at $449.58. The total value of everything was $2,784.58.
Pictured are Ralph Cerney, lodge member; Mary Ann Cerney, chair of The Haven project; and Judy Eaton. Not pictured is Suzanne Cunningham.
On Oct. 8, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle #1578 hosted its charity fashion show, featuring outfits from local boutique Fashion Labels. Each model showed three outfits. For lunch, each Anna Miller member was asked to bring their favorite salad. The event had 100 guests and eight models and helpers, with salads to spare! Proceeds of more than $1,300 will go to Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services, the Florida Elks Youth Camp and other charities that serve women and children in need. Elvis impersonator and Elk member Tom McCarroll made an appearance at the event as well.
Pictured are models Doris Stemmer, Sylvia Laramee, Anita Ring (guest from Summerset Assisted Living Center), Beverly Dufresne, Anna Boykin, Kathy Mitchell, Vicki Mercadante and Kristina Cline, along with Elvis (Tom McCarroll).
On July 26, using some of Ocala Lodge’s Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant funds, members went shopping for nonperishable food items to donate to Interfaith Emergency Services’ food pantry, located in Ocala, Florida. They spent $365 for 186 pounds of food items which were very much appreciated by Interfaith. Interfaith Emergency Services provides basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medications, hygiene items and much more to enhance the quality of life and ease the burden for those in financial distress. Their clients are those who are homeless, elderly, veterans, disabled, the working poor and underprivileged children.
Pictured are lodge members Pat Miller; David Clayton; Linda Moulton, George Griffin lll, PER; two gentlemen from Interfaith; and Mike Miller, PER.
On July 17, South Lake Elks Lodge #1848 donated $3,000 from its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to The Central Florida Hope Center of Clermont to restock their local food pantry in Clermont, Florida.
Pictured are Russell Smith, PDD; Brenda Blevins, food pantry director; and Bea Meeks, Exalted Ruler.
On July 23, members of Ocala Elks Lodge #286 visited Stirrups and Strides Therapeutic Riding Center in Citra, Florida, and presented a $4,000 check to the riding center — half from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and half from the matching funds from the Florida State Elks Association. Funds will be used to provide supplies the program needs to recover after being suspended due to COVID-19, specifically feed, hay and support for events. Additionally, members will volunteer at events and wear lodge shirts to represent the organization. Stirrups and Strides Therapeutic Riding Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007. Their certified riding instructors provide therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving to anyone with physical, mental or emotional challenges. Their vision is to give the gift of educational, emotional and physical growth to these individuals through horsemanship and competition. The program supports activities with the Special Olympics, veterans’ programs and the Hillcrest Public School’s students with special needs.
Pictured are Gail McDaniels; Lois Leighton; Linda Butler Moulton; Betty Gray; Kathy, Betty Gray’s daughter; Bob Adler; Wayne Argo, Exalted Ruler; Gigi Argo; George Griffin; and Pat Patricia Miller. Not pictured is Mike Miller.
The Inverness Elks Lodge #2522 bingo committee donated $1,000 to Jessie’s Place, the Citrus County Children’s Advocacy Center. The bingo committee donates a portion of the earnings to various children’s and veterans’ groups in Citrus County, Florida.
Pictured July 11 at the lodge are Jim Bell; Rachel Blair, Jessie’s Place executive assistant; Mike Woythaler; Jack Trafalski; and John Miller.
Eustis Lodge held its annual first responder appreciation dinner and awards presentation Feb. 21. Multiple cities and departments were represented. Ron Locke, Exalted Ruler, awards Jeff Hosterman the Firefighter of the Year award, presented by Chief Richard Keith of the Tavares Fire Department. Locke awards Crystal Vicchiollo as Lake EMS Paramedic of the Year, recommended by her director, Jerry Smith.
On Feb. 21, the Anna Miller Circle of Eustis Lodge #1578 packed welcome kits at the lodge for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, a shelter for women who have survived rape or abuse. They offer extensive programs to help survivors with housing, food and classes as well as assistance in transitioning to a safer and healthier life. They also help their children in both school and legal settings as advocates in the children's time of need. Eight Anna Miller members, one guest and one lodge member packed 150 adult welcome kits, 100 children's welcome kits and 28 birthday kits. The adult kits contain soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, deodorant and a razor. The children's kits contain soap, shampoo, conditioner, a children's toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, lip balm and a small toy. The birthday kits contain cake mix, frosting and candles so mothers can bake a cake for any child who is in the shelter on their birthday. This donation also contained blankets, coloring books and large cereal boxes plus 19 children's videos and 29 full-size items for use at the safe house. The value of this donation was $2,764.
Pictured packing (from left front around to front right) Mary Wilkins, Cindy Bennett, Marc Cunningham, Anna Boykin, Bonnie Smith, Jean Witt, Mary Ann Cerney and Joyce Denzer.
Vicki Mercadante is pictured packing birthday kits and counting full-size items.
Pictured with the packed kits are Anna Boykin, Marc Cunningham, Suzanne Cunningham, Joyce Denzer, Cindy Bennett, Bonnie Smith, Mary Wilkins, Vicki Mercadante, Jean Witt and Mary Ann Cerney.