In the past, Manasota Elks Lodge #2734 has had Breakfast with Santa for community families in need. Unfortunately, this was not possible this past year due to the pandemic. Disappointed, lodge members brainstormed and talked to the two schools they partner with and came up with a solution. The lodge used Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant funds to fill a box with toiletries, candy, toys, $15 McDonald’s gift certificates for each child, Christmas dinner items and a $25 Winn-Dixie gift certificate to purchase a turkey for distribution to 26 families in need at Abel Elementary School and Oneco Elementary School. Lodge members Diane Davis, Spike Klocke, Linda Schultz, Pauline Snyder and Shawn Wheaton sorted, wrapped and packed the items for delivery to each Title 1 school. School staff members distributed the boxes the last day of school before the winter break. The lodge received posters and letters thanking them for the generous gifts.
Pictured Dec. 17 at Abel Elementary School are Denise Troche, staff member; Diane Davis, Leading Knight; Don Wheaton, trustee; Jan "Spike" Klocke, lodge member; Jim Klocke, trustee; Shawn Wheaton, lodge member; and Mary Lauderdale, staff member.
Pictured Dec. 18 at Oneco Elementary school are Eileen Popecki, staff member; Davida Phillips, staff member; Jan "Spike" Klocke, lodge member; Jim Klocke, trustee; Don Wheaton, trustee; Marie Mueller, staff member, lodge member, and N.U.B.S. Community Service co-advisor; Shawn Wheaton, lodge member; and Diane Davis, Leading Knight.