On Dec. 7, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 donated $500 to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. They provide a free book to children who are registered, ages birth to 5 years old, which is mailed to them on a monthly basis. This encourages reading success in school and throughout their adult life.
On Dec. 9, Punta Gorda Lodge6 made donations to the Elks National Foundation for $800 and to Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services for $800 stemming from proceeds of the bi-monthly Sunday breakfasts for the last quarter of the year.
On Oct. 10, the Punta Gorda Elks Lodge Past Exalted Rulers Association hosted its 28th annual Oktoberfest celebration. A large variety of German delectables was served to 248 members and guests. The proceeds of $3,395.41 were raised for the Elks National Foundation and Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services. The surplus food was donated to Jesus Loves You Ministry, an outreach program for the homeless in the community with a value of $180.
Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 hosted six blood drives in 2023, in coordination with One Blood from Port Charlotte. There were 23 members who participated throughout the year. In total, 75 pints were donated, equal to saving 225 lives, as each pint of blood saves three lives. Each time a member or guest donated blood, they received a T-shirt provided from One Blood and a $10 gift card. The volunteers donated a total of 201 hours at $29.95, totaling $6,019.95. They traveled 2,611 miles at $0.59 per mile totaling $1,540.49. The combined total for volunteers was $7,560.44. The lodge hosted a free lunch for all volunteers at each blood drive.
The Deep Creek Ladies of Elks sponsored an angel tree at the lodge. Lodge members purchased holiday gifts for 197 children from Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Club. These organizations picked up the gifts Dec. 14.
Pictured are the tree and gifts.
On Dec. 21, Deep Creek Lodge hosted the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office K-9 division for a demonstration of what they do to protect the community. Peggie Sue McClellan, Exalted Ruler, had met Sgt. David Musgrove after a criminal tried to hide in her yard. Sgt. Musgrove's K-9, Rico, apprehended the criminal. McClellan called Sgt. Musgrove the next day and asked what they needed. He said that during severe tropical weather, most officers go to shelters but K-9 handlers stay with their dogs at home. He said they could use impact crates to protect the dogs if homes are severely damaged. The lodge donated $9,300 to provide nine crates and also provided airtight waterproof food containers for the dogs. Sgt. Musgrove knew about the Elks because in 2019 he was awarded the Enrique Camarena award. He was very proud of it, but it had fallen from a shelf and shattered. McClellan contacted another Elk to help her have his award replaced. When the check was presented to Sgt. Musgrove and his lieutenant for the crates, she then surprised him with a duplicate award. The lodge also gave all the deputies a boxed lunch to go and trustee Ed Wood gave Kongs for the dogs, which he was able to get Petco to donate.
Pictured are the K-9 trainer and handlers; Sgt. David Musgrove with his K-9, Rico; and Sgt. Musgrove and Peggie Sue McClellan, Exalted Ruler.