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.
On Feb. 5, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle 1578 held its yearly cake auction to benefit the Florida Elks major projects — the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services. Those in attendance included lodge members and Florida Elks attending the Florida State Elks quarterly meeting. Ron Locke, PDD, Exalted Ruler, acted as auctioneer. The auction raised $2,550, which was presented to Dayna Miller, State Harry-Anna Trust Fund Chair.
Pictured is the display of cakes baked by the Anna Miller Circle members.
On Dec. 21, Winter Garden Elks Lodge #2165 used its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to donate clothing, tents, tarps, hygiene items and food for the guests of Matthews Hope, a homeless ministry. These items will be given out over the next several months to more than 150 men, women and children. A hot meal was also prepared and served to 70 guests.
Pictured are Ellen Snyder, Lecturing Knight; Megan Reish; Ed Colon, Exalted Ruler; Pam DePriest; Ralph Moore; and Scott Billue, lodge member and founder of Matthews Hope. Children and grandchildren of lodge members also helped.
Using lodge funds, Winter Garden Elks purchased and donated 50 dictionaries to third graders at Ocoee Elementary School. Pictured Sept. 22 are Pam DePriest, member; Natalie Hatch, wife of member Wally Hatch, PER; and Kandace Goshe, principal.
On Sept. 18, Winter Garden Elks Lodge #2165 hosted a baby shower at the lodge for 15 mothers on low incomes using the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant. Each mother received a case of diapers, a case of wipes, four books and a variety of other baby items. Pictured are Carolyn Robbins, Esteemed Leading Knight; Kendall Croft, daughter of members Billy and Lesley Croft; Pam DePriest, member; and Ed Colon, Exalted Ruler.
On Aug. 20, Eustis Elks Lodge’s Anna Miller Circle packed welcome kits for those at The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, who are their usual grateful recipients, but during this session, they also packed kits for the Brotherhood Riders who stopped at the lodge Aug. 23 on their way to New York City to honor 2020’s fallen heroes as well as everyone who died from Sept. 11 causes. Seven ladies and one Elk packed 100 adult kits and 50 children's kits along with 11 birthday cake packages of cake mix, frosting and candles for children who are in safe housing during their birthday. The adult kits include soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, mouthwash, toothpaste, floss and a toothbrush. The children's kits include shampoo, soap, toothpaste, children's toothbrush, hand sanitizer, a tissue pack, lip balm and a small toy. The value of The Haven donation was $1,569. The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties provides a safe haven for women who have been abused and their children as well as for rape survivors and teens. They offer an extensive program to help survivors both with housing, food and classes as well as assistance in transitioning to a safer and healthier life. They advocate for the children in school and legal settings. For the riders, 67 kits were packed and contained soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaver, shave cream, hand sanitizer, a travel toothbrush, mouthwash and toothpaste. This donation was valued at $670. Pictured are Darlene Hall, Kristina Cline and Vicki Mercante, co-chair of The Haven Project. Also pictured are Anna Miller Circle member Shearon Jones and a Brotherhood Rider.