On Feb. 20, St. Augustine Lodge donated its $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to the Homeless Coalition of St. John’s County to provide services to individuals and families who are homeless, including temporary homes and child care. Additionally, lodge members donated approximately $500 worth of nonperishable items.
Pictured are Kevin Walsh, lodge trustee; Cathleen Walsh, Lodge Secretary; Elizabeth Bastedo, lodge grant coordinator; Debi Redding, Homeless Coalition executive director; and Rich Bastedo, lodge member.
On Jan. 17, St. Augustine Elks Lodge #829 donated $2,000 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant along with $2,000 of its matching funds from the Florida State Elks Association to the Wildflower Healthcare, which provides no-cost medical and dental care to uninsured residents of the county. Pictured are Elizabeth Bastedo, lodge grant coordinator, and Michelle Collee, executive director of Wildflower Healthcare.
Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221 hosted a children’s Christmas party Dec. 10 for families from Hogan Spring-Glen Elementary School. With the support of UPS, the United Methodist Church and the use of the lodge's Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, the lodge provided gifts from wish lists, grocery store gift cards for Christmas dinner and many other donated items to 15 families in need. Author David Gaslin took time with each child and gave them a signed copy of his children’s book. Santa made an appearance as well as Elroy the Elk. Children made ornaments and picture frames, decorated cookies, and had their photos taken with Santa. Lunch and desserts were provided.
Pictured are Santa greeting the children and Elroy the Elk with David Graham, Exalted Ruler.
Hayden Heavener, representing Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221, won first place for boys ages 10-11 at the North regional Hoop Shoot Jan. 28 at Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida. He made 19 out of 25 baskets, tying with another contestant, and then won the tiebreaker, making four out of five baskets. He advances to the state Hoop Shoot. He also won first place at the Jacksonville Lodge Hoop Shoot and the Northeast District Hoop Shoot.
Pictured are Hayden Heavener and Elroy the Elk (from Lake City Lodge).
On Jan. 10, Green Cove Springs Lodge donated $1,000 from the Past Exalted Rulers charity bingo fund to Seamark Ranch, a working farm in Green Cove Springs that provides schooling and counseling in a family home setting to children in the foster care system or in crisis situations. The ranch has provided support to more than 100 children since opening its doors to children in need.
Pictured at the check presentation are Ed Weston, PER chair; Paul Orvosh, PDD, Lodge Treasurer; Brittany McGraw, Seamark Ranch events manager; and Al Williams, Exalted Ruler.
On Jan. 6, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 donated $1,783 of its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs, which has been providing support to the community for more than 30 years.
Pictured at the check presentation are Tracy Carroll, PER, lodge grants coordinator; Theresa and Ken Heselschwerdt, food pantry volunteers; and Al Williams, Exalted Ruler.
Green Cove Springs Lodge members and volunteers delivered more than 450 gift bags Dec. 16 to the faculty and staff members at several local schools and the local library. The bags contained donated facial products that were donated to Florida Elks Charities.
Pictured at W.E. Cherry Elementary School are Joshua Hogmire, assistant principal; Ed Weston, PER; Joy Elrod, Lecturing Knight; Michelle Solomon, school secretary; Michelle Mister, teacher; Shannon Scott, school staff member; Al Williams, Exalted Ruler; and Lester Booker, school resource officer.
On Dec. 3, members and volunteers from Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 partnered with the city of Green Cove Springs for the annual Christmas on Walnut Street festival. Lodge members greeted families and provided gift bags, which included books, toys and candy canes, for 350 children. Lodge volunteers helped organize and pack the items Nov. 19; they were purchased by the lodge with matching grant funds from the Florida State Elks Association. The lodge also distributed more than 400 gift bags containing facial products, obtained by Florida Elks Charities, to the parents and grandparents attending the event with their children.
Pictured are lodge volunteers awaiting the arrival of Santa and the children.
On Nov. 16, Gainesville Elks Lodge #990 used its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to donate turkeys and gift cards to One More Child for Thanksgiving dinners for 33 families with foster children. One More Child is a nonprofit organization that assists children and families in need with programs for foster care, anti-trafficking, child hunger, single mothers and family support. Pictured are Louis Mallory, Exalted Ruler; Dina Atalig, lodge Beacon Grant administrator; Glen Gardner, PDD, lodge grants coordinator; and Demetri Semper and Lois Lembke from One More Child.
On Sept. 20, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 Past Exalted Rulers hosted a special bingo night in support of K9s For Warriors, an organization that trains and provides service dogs for military veterans. Thanks to the generosity of the volunteers, players and the Past Exalted Rulers Association, a donation of $4,000 was presented to Stephanie Vogt, K9s For Warriors representative, pictured in the center along with some lodge members and players as well as non-member players.
On Sept. 11, the Florida Ladies of Elks Eland chapter of St. Augustine Elks Lodge #829, in conjunction with Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892, held a fashion show and luncheon in support of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp. Lodge members modeled the fashions and helped prepare the luncheon. Linda Rittenhouse, PSP-FLOE and Judy Reyes, PSP-FLOE planned the event, which raised $778.
Pictured are Nancy Klopfenstein, member; Patsy Weston, House Committee member; Judy Reyes, PSP-FLOE; Tiffany Rupp, fashion show consultant; Shirley Orvosh, volunteer; and Barbara Thompson, Leading Knight. Also pictured are Thresa Hurley, volunteer; Lynn Elrod, Loyal Knight; Pat Buerhaus, kitchen manager; Bonnie Conti, Inner Guard; and Jeff Phillips, member, preparing lunch, along with guests enjoying lunch before the show.
Jacksonville Elks Lodge members donated approximately $300 in school supplies for Hogan Spring-Glen Elementary School.
Member Sarah Schllesinger, pictured in the center in blue, led the collection during the Christmas-in-July event July 30. She is pictured with other lodge members.