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Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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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.


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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.


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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. 


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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.


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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.