Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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2495 books toys

During the coronavirus pandemic, Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495 has been carrying out a unique program to serve students’ needs while they learn from home. In April, 1,900 educational toys were donated to help encourage children in prekindergarten through eighth grade with their distance learning and as an incentive to complete their assignments online. In June, 2,500 books were donated for the students as well. Teachers from three schools in Sarasota, Venice and Bradenton came to the Elks’ storeroom near the lodge to pick up the toys and books. They take them to their schools to hand out to the students as they pick up their lunches. The teachers handle this because they know which children are in need and their reading levels. To date, approximately 2,900 toys and 3,500 books have been donated, and each student receives a book and a toy. This project was supported by lodge members and members of the community as well as by businesses, Toys for Tots, a book company and Venice-Nokomis Elks Lodge. Because of the lodge’s visibility and community support, they have even gained new members. Pictured June 10 at the lodge storeroom are Jim Lamb, PDD, Sarasota South Lodge member and coordinator of Toys for Tots, and Marie Mueller of Oneco Elementary School.