On April 13, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 hosted 150 first responders, volunteers and their families for a picnic and games at the lodge. Punta Gorda Police Chief, Pamela Davis, presented an award to Exalted Ruler, Tim Pohto, for the lodge’s tireless support of Punta Gorda law enforcement.
The 16th annual Chuck Blackhurst Memorial Charity Golf Tournament was held April 20 at the Deep Creek Golf Club. With 152 golfers participating, a total of $6,340 was donated to Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Lodge member Paul White started this tournament and has continued to run the event for the last 16 years. Since its inception, the tournament has raised over $77,500 for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
During June, Punta Gorda lodge presented over $29,000 in scholarships to local students – 16 $1,000 scholarships were given by the lodge, eight $1,000 scholarships were given by the Elkettes and one $2,000 scholarship was given by the Past Exalted Rulers Association. Two students each received $4,000 from the Elks National Foundation Legacy Scholarships in addition to $1,000 each from the lodge.
On June 23, the Punta Gorda Lodge Past Exalted Rulers Association hosted an Italian dinner benefit for Cathy Wieder with proceeds of over $4,500 going to assist with her medical expenses. Wieder, a former lodge bartender for 25 years, also chaired several lodge committees including entertainment and special events. The PER Association also donated $500.
Fort Myers Lodge held an inspiring Flag Day ceremony June 9 which was open to the public. Along with lodge officers, also participating were the Masonic Sojourners from North Fort Myers, Fla., a fraternal organization meeting the needs of military Masons and advancing programs that promote love of country, and members of the Vietnam Bravo Unit First Battalion 9th Marines.
In period costume June 9 at the Fort Myers Lodge Flag Day ceremony, Masonic Sojourners build the American flag by adding red and white stripes as each state entered the union.
Fifty members of Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge #2781 gathered for Mother’s Day brunch that included an omelet and Belgian waffle bar among other items. The event raised $2,000 for high school scholarships. John Dooley, Don Ware and Carolyn Ware wait for volunteer Louis Kuhn to prepare omelets.
Drug Awareness Education chairman of Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge #2781, Carol Jo Nelson, prepared a home movie basket to be raffled at the annual Flag Day ceremony. Funds from the raffle are used to provide youth with drug awareness education materials. Lucky winners Ian and Julie Fisher will enjoy an evening at home with family and friends popping corn and watching movies.
Bob Humphreys, Americanism Chairman of Rotonda Elks Lodge #2710, proudly presents certificates and prizes to Americanism essay contest winners Bethany Vo, fourth place, $10; Raja Patel, third place, $15; Monica Heeg, second place, $25; and Ansley Miller, first place, $50. Also pictured is Nadine Clough, retired teacher and committee member. The theme was, “What Makes you Proud of America.”
Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 used its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to take two groups of nine children from Genesis House homeless shelter shopping at Walmart for school clothes and shoes. The lodge used its Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant for The Academy, an alternative school for high-risk students. School spirit T-shirts and gift cards were provided for their positive reinforcement program.
Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 held its 12th annual bocce tournament with 19 teams consisting of 70 players. Proceeds from the sign-ups and raffle tickets totaling $1,002 were donated to Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
Punta Gorda Lodge hosts a blood drive every 56 days. At a current blood drive, 48 pints were donated. One pint saves three lives, so lodge members saved 144 lives.
The Punta Gorda Lodge Past Exalted Rulers Association donated $500 in January to the 40th annual Powder Puff charity golf classic which benefits Tidewell Hospice. Tidewell Hospice provides care for terminally ill patients and their families.
Punta Gorda Lodge donated $1,000 in food products in January and February to St. Vincent de Paul food pantry. Additionally, the proceeds from bar bingo of $1,400 were contributed to the lodge scholarship fund.
Punta Gorda Lodge purchased and installed three security doors at Hope Academy at Crossroads using funds from a grant. The project was completed at the end of March. Hope Academy is the name of the school at Crossroads, a nonprofit 501(c)3 home and charter school for foster boys who have had multiple failed placements in the Florida foster care system.
Rotonda Elks Lodge #2710 used their $2,000 from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and the $2,000 from the Florida State Elks Association’s matching grant to help C.A.R.E., the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies. Their mission statement is “to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes in Charlotte County. C.A.R.E. works to create safety in our community by helping survivors and by promoting nonviolent and healthy relationships by education and example.” Lodge members’ spouses shopped for women’s and children’s clothing for the center’s clients.
Carol Stuppleben, Sharon Linton and Becky Kelly, spouses of Rotonda Lodge members, shop for clothes to donate to the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies using the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and the FSEA matching grant.
In December 2018, Pine Island Elementary School hosted the Hoop Shoot sponsored by Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge #2781. During the competition, SRO Cpl. W. Rivera noticed that the school’s basketballs were worn and in need of replacement. After the Hoop Shoot, Rivera was speaking with a lodge member about the school’s need for new basketballs. Lodge Exalted Ruler, Judy Hopkins, overheard the conversation and agreed to help with the purchase and donation of 10 new basketballs. The balls were purchased with funds from Greater Pine Island Lodge’s charitable trust and presented them to the school Jan. 24.
Pictured at the basketball presentation to Pine Island Elementary School by Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge Jan 24 are Cpl. W. Rivera, SRO; Judy Hopkins, Exalted Ruler; Lee Wilbur, Treasurer; S. Hook, principal; and J. Whitt, coach/PE teacher.
Englewood Lodge hosted their children's Christmas party Dec. 15. Each of the 115 children in attendance received a gift.
Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 included 14 people from the Janet Jones Group Home for adults who are physically and mentally disabled for their Thanksgiving dinner. The lodge includes members of this home in their special events.
The Deep Creek Ladies of the Elks held a very successful garage sale in November and made donations to Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Elks National Foundation. They also made a donation so Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services therapists could purchase Christmas gifts for their patients.
On Dec. 15, nine members of Punta Gorda Lodge assisted the Punta Gorda Police Department in hosting a Christmas party for 25 foster families consisting of 90 children and 40 parents. A turkey dinner with all the trimmings was cooked by the members and brought to the church. Santa Claus brought gifts for all the children as well as a family gift bag.