On Dec. 13, West Palm Beach Lodge hosted a children’s Christmas party with 75 children in attendance with their families. Each child received two gifts. Pictured is the family of Justa Ajanel and Fernando Rodriquez with children Alex and Kelly Rodriquez who attend one of five schools that are supported by the lodge. Also pictured are Santa and Mrs. Claus (Libby and Rodger Dill) along with Carol Blair, chair; Minia Cain, Leading Knight; Elaine Maes-Morey, Exalted Ruler; Karen Ebenhack, Lodge Treasurer; and Maureen Debigare, member.
West Palm Beach Lodge #1352 delivered school supplies Nov. 20 to the five schools they support – Wynnbrook Elementary, Benoist Farms Elementary, Hope-Centennial Elementary, Greenacres Elementary and Liberty Park Elementary. Pictured at Wynnbrook Elementary are Eduardo Ortoneda, head custodian; Suzanne Berry, principal; Ed Morey Jr., PER; Elaine Maes-Morey, Exalted Ruler; and Steve Collins, vice principal.
On Dec. 12, Jupiter Elks hosted a drive-thru to see Santa to ensure social distancing, and they handed out stuffed animals and Elk goody bags to all of the children. Pictured are Colleen Dowd, Elk of the Year; Lauren Dowd-Shedlock, House Committee chair; the Grinch; Santa (Dave Vertullo, Exalted Ruler); Mrs. Claus (Vicky Doubleday, House Committee member); Elroy the Elk, Drug Awareness mascot; Rita Livingston as an Elk, Esteemed Loyal Knight; Lisa Nuss, Esteemed Lecturing Knight; and Larry Littell, Southeast District Deputy, as a classic Christmas caroler.
Jupiter Lodge also gave toys, bikes and a new outfit to 111 local children in need the week before Christmas.
Jupiter Elks Lodge #2469 participated in the local Christmas parade Dec. 6 with a decorated float of elk stables to symbolize that Santa's Elks help the community year-round. Throughout the parade, the Elks spread Elkdom and holiday cheer as they handed out brochures about what it means to be an Elk along with drug awareness ribbons and candy canes.
Clewiston Elks Lodge #1853 partnered with the local United Cerebral Palsy Foundation chapter (UCP) to plan and deliver an unforgettable Christmas experience for local patients with cerebral palsy. The local UCP staff worked with their clients to help each of them write their Christmas wish list to Santa. Then the Elks gathered the lists, hung them on a decorative Angel Tree and asked their members to select a wish list and be a Secret Santa for the client they selected. Within a week, all the cards from the tree were selected, and within another week, all the gifts were returned. On Dec. 17, the Elks invited all of the UCP clients and Secret Santas to come visit with the real Santa (lodge member Mike O’Rourke) to enjoy a meal and collect their gifts, stockings and other treats. The highlight of the evening was the opportunity for each of the clients to have a socially distanced visit with Santa. Pictured are Susie, Tebitha, Amelia, Kathy, Bertha, Desiree, Ruth, Clarence, McAllister, Tony and Angie.
Lake Okeechobee Elks Lodge #2871 hosted the Southeast District soccer shoot Dec. 19. Winners were Justin Phillips, Okeechobee, second place, 10-11; Michael Bussott, Clewiston, second place, 8-9; Isaiah Phillips, Okeechobee, first place, 8-9; Wyatt Phillips, Okeechobee, first place, 12-13; William Bussott, Clewiston, second place, 12-13; and Dakota Donelly, Okeechobee, first place, 10-11.
On Aug. 4, West Palm Beach Elks Lodge #1352 presented four local students the PER scholarships — two $1,250 winners and two $1,000 winners. The $4,500 was raised through the Lodge 26 Week Club. In this club, members contribute $130 or $5 a week for scholarships for high school students. At the end of the year, the lodge holds a dinner and drawings for members who are paid in full. Pictured are Patti Phillips, PDD; Minia Cain, Esteemed Leading Knight; Kya Heard, Molly Danison, Gema Cervantes, and Manuel Uribe, recipients; and Elaine Maes-Morey, Exalted Ruler.
Using $500 from the Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, Jupiter Lodge delivered sandwich platters, salads, sweet treats, and grab-and-go items to the community's police departments over the Fourth of July weekend. Stations receiving these gifts included Jupiter Inlet Colony Police Department, Tequesta Police Department and Jupiter Police Department. Pictured are member Maureen Paglia with staff of the Tequesta PD.
On July 3, Jupiter Elks Lodge #2469 presented $1,500 from its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to Choice to Change to support and provide relief to local families in need during the coronavirus pandemic. Choice to Change is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency serving Palm Beach County, Florida, that provides services to youth, adults and families to help them become productive, safe and happy individuals in the community. Pictured are Tyler F., youth volunteer; Dave Vertullo, Exalted Ruler; Lynn Trimble, Choice to Change representative; and Trevonta H., youth volunteer.
On Sept. 16, Clewiston Elks Lodge #1853 awarded $500 to the Clewiston High School wrestling team which is led by Quinn Miller, Esteemed Leading Knight. The team members are always willing to lend a helping hand around the lodge and at lodge annual functions. Pictured are Miller and Danielle Soles, Exalted Ruler.
West Palm Beach Elks Lodge #1352 used its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to hold a food distribution drive June 8 for seniors 60-plus. Food for 100 seniors was either picked up or delivered to them. Pictured are Tim and Kathy Nelen; Andrea Wallace and son, Aiden Harter; and Vicky Frey loading cars. The smiles on the seniors’ faces made the day for all 17 Elks members participating.
On May 27, Jupiter Elks Lodge #2469 and the scholarship committee honored three local high school students with $1,000 scholarships to help with their future education. The students were chosen according to their commitment to learning. They all had fabulous academic scores, took higher level courses and donated many hours to their communities. Pictured are recipients Doug Wingert, Fatimah Jaber and Alex Dawkins and Jupiter Lodge Scholarship Committee members Jill McDaniel and Amanda Murphy.