On Nov. 14, Florida Keys Lodge held its lodge-level Soccer Shoot and hosted 40 community children from ages 5 to 14. Six participants moved on to the district competition and two placed first to go on to the state Soccer Shoot Jan. 8.
Pictured are Soccer Shoot volunteers Morgan Sayre, Jennifer Belz, Kristina Landino and Nishith Bryan.
On Oct. 23, Florida Keys Elks Lodge members attended the Founders Park Trunk-or-Treat event as a way to be visible in the community. Members gave away more than 500 red ribbons and candy in honor of Red Ribbon week. Pictured are Linda Sullivan, member; Elroy the Elk (Brian Sayre); State Drug Awareness Vice Chair, Denny Tarbell; and Angela Sayre, Exalted Ruler.
During Florida Keys Lodge’s annual Flag Day ceremony June 14, local Scout Troops 912 and 914 retired more than 400 flags. The event included many members of the community.
On June 5, Florida Keys Lodge partnered with Scout Troop 914 in preparing a barbecue meal for more than 150 in attendance. The event raised $2,500 for their summer camp. Pictured are scouts AJ Delgado, Aiden Pegues, Oliver Rutten, Keegan Wittke, Simon Gutierrez, Wyatt Brown and Jack Brown.
On May 1, Florida Keys Elks Lodge #1872 held its 2021 Kentucky Derby benefit and raised $1,755 for the Domestic Abuse Shelter of the Upper Keys. This fun event was very well received in the community with more than100 members and guests in attendance. A check was presented to the organization during the May 13 lodge meeting. Pictured are Laura Springer, victim advocate; Sheryl Schwab, executive director of the Domestic Abuse Shelter; and Angela Sayre, Exalted Ruler.
On Feb. 13, South Miami/Coral Gables Elks Lodge #1676 held its annual charity ball. Because the lodge was chartered July 18, 1945, they celebrated 75 years with the 16-piece Rich Vanderburg Big Band, who volunteered their services. The event raised $4,700 which will be used toward the lodge’s Harry-Anna Trust Fund and Elks National Foundation per capitas.
On March 20, South Miami/Coral Gables Elks Lodge #1676 teamed with One More Child & Reality Church to distribute food to 125 South Dade families in need. Reality Church brought 20 student volunteers from Georgia Southern University to the lodge to help pack. The students were in Miami for a mission trip with Reality Church, which is part of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). The students and lodge members packed each box with 24 pounds of canned goods, consisting of a variety of vegetables, pasta, sauce, tuna, mayo, pancake mix, syrup, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, rice and fruit snacks. The food and boxes that were used for packing the food were purchased with an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant.
On Feb. 28, members of Cornerstone Church of Miami along with members of Miami Elks Lodge #948, the JROTC program at G. Holmes Braddock High School and the One More Child organization gathered at the lodge to pack 350 bags of food for the local community suffering from food insecurity. The food was purchased using $1,000 from the lodge charity fund and $1,500 from the church. New lodge member John Martinez supervises this JROTC program and brought several of the cadets (in yellow shirts) to help.
Pictured in the front row are Yvonne Makenna; Patricia Jaromilla; Kathleen Blackwood, lodge member; Michael Naya, lodge member; Doris Meyers, lodge member; Ignacio Pena, lodge member; Amparo Pena, Carmen Layne Powers, lodge member; and Panos Kourtesis, regional director of south Florida for One More Child. Pictured in the middle row and in the middle of the back row are members and family of the JROTC. Pictured in the back row on the left is Jeffrey Muehlfeld, PDD, Exalted Ruler, and on the right is John Martinez. Not pictured is Maria Dewitt who volunteered with the packing but took this photo.
Florida Keys Elks Lodge #1872 used its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to hold a breakfast with Santa Dec. 5 with more than 100 children and family members in attendance. Families enjoyed breakfast, tableside activities and a singalong. Mr. and Mrs. Claus made their appearance and provided social distancing while family photos were taken in the Christmas sleigh. All children received personalized gifts and goody bags to take home. The afternoon highlight was a performance by local magician, Michael Trixx, who entertained everyone with his extravagant show. Many members were involved in putting this community event together for a day of fun. Pictured are Brenda Cockrell, Exalted Ruler; Nikki Johnson, member; and Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Also shown are gifts purchased for the children and one of the children dressed up to see Santa Claus.
On Aug. 13, South Miami/Coral Gables Elks Lodge #1676 used its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant in cooperation with Miami Dade Police Department Neighbor Resource Unit, Officer Tookes and the office of Commissioner Dennis Moss to distribute food to families at the following locations: Hope Deliverance Church (50 families), Sunset Point Public Housing (50 families), Arthur Mays Villas Public Housing (50 families), Gould's Senior Citizens Center (30 families), West Jessamine Elderly Center (10 families), West Evergreen Elderly Center (10 families), and Circle Plaza East & West Public Housing Complex (10 families).
On Sept. 10, Florida Keys Elks Lodge #1872 donated its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to the Coral Shores High School Needy Assistance Fund. Due to the pandemic, students and teachers did not return to the classrooms until Sept. 21. These funds will be used to provide students and teachers with a significant amount of necessary supplies for resuming classroom education. In addition, this donation will provide students in need with eyeglasses appointments and eyeglasses, school clothes, and other pertinent supplies needed to succeed in the classroom. Pictured are Brenda Cockrell, lodge grant coordinator and Exalted Ruler; Kristy Munafo, assistant vice principal; Janet Ciccarelli, Lodge Secretary; and Ana Alvaro, assistant vice principal.
Working with Wheelchairs 4 Kids of Tarpon Springs, Florida, Miami Elks Lodge #948 donated $1,278so that 9-year-old Franklin could have an adaptive therapy tricycle. His mother wrote a letter to the organization asking for assistance, and the organization reached out to the lodge since they have a longstanding relationship; the lodge has sponsored more than 30 children in need of adaptive equipment. In the letter, Franklin’s mother explains that he “was born with a congenital heart defect (CHO) known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). He has had six open heart surgeries and 12 cardiac catheterizations to this date and a pacemaker implanted since 2012. In addition to his heart condition and as a consequence of lack of oxygen during multiple interventions, Franklin suffered brain damage and was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy….He presents a global developmental delay which prevents him from performing regular activities other children his age would. He takes daily medications and requires full assistance for ambulation, bathroom, feeding, etc. and specialized care for monitoring his condition. He receives therapy services (physical, occupational, speech and behavioral) at home several times a week. In the past, Franklin was able to use a standard kids’ tricycle to exercise his legs. Now, he outgrew the kids’ size and the next stage tricycles don't provide the additional safety that Franklin requires. I actually purchased the smallest adult tricycle I could afford and made some modifications but it is not safe for him….Unfortunately, insurance companies won't cover this device.”
According to Nina Shaw, Programs Team Leader for Wheelchairs 4 Kids, “Franklin is an average boy who is above average. He enjoys activities similar to other kids. His routine is to watch “Paw Patrol” after lunch and “Peppa Pig” before bedtime. The last thing Franklin does before falling asleep is reading a “Peppa Pig” book. The young boy listens to a variety of music that puts him into a relaxed mood. He likes getting fresh air and going to the park to watch people play baseball and basketball. Franklin is a sports fan, especially of soccer. He attends many games to support his cousin who plays the popular sport. Franklin is a huge fan of the former Real Madrid player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Franklin, however, is not defined by his interests. He is a good kid with an endless smile and a positive attitude.” Shaw also notes that the tricycle will be used “to improve his leg flexibility, strength and balance. The trike will also be another outlet for him to play outside.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization is not doing presentations, so the tricycle was sent directly to his home from the manufacturer July 13 and he was riding it every day!