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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Courtney Weil, PER

St. Petersburg Lodge Donates to Optimist Club

On March 2, the St. Petersburg Ladies of Elks brought back the 1950s for a midwinter sock hop featuring the 1950s group the Impacs who were Florida’s No. 1 rock & roll band in the era and represented the Tampa Bay area all over the U.S. on the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. The servers for this occasion were members of St. Petersburg’s Optimist Club who are dedicated to aiding those less fortunate than themselves in the community by assisting community programs and providing guest speakers to give members the opportunity to learn, grow and improve themselves. Members and attendees were proud to present to them $300 to assist them with their various community projects.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Donates to Softball Team that had Equipment Stolen

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During the 108th anniversary celebration at St. Petersburg Lodge and its variety show event Feb. 16, the Dixie Hollins Rebels softball team members acted as servers. The lodge offers high school clubs, teams and other nonprofits the ability to earn community service hours, learn life skills and have the opportunity to interact with a diverse demographic. The Rebels’ team swapped places with other schools in the lodge’s volunteer lineup because of the team’s immediate need. The Rebels’ softball team was in fundraising mode because they recently discovered that their field maintenance equipment had been stolen from their secured concrete storage unit during their off-season. It cost them $500 to replace the stolen equipment and they had to borrow from money raised for their other needs such as travel and sports equipment. Exalted Ruler, Cathy Shriver, presented Coach Robin Brady with $406 received in donations from lodge and family members attending the evening’s event.

Pictured at the St. Petersburg Lodge donation presentation Feb. 16 to the Dixie Hollins Rebels softball team to help defray costs of stolen equipment are Alecia Buanisky; Alyson Lucas; Hawaii Grimes Layner, parent; Braelyn Grimes; Cathy Shriver, Exalted Ruler; and Robin Brady, Rebels softball coach.

 

Tampa Lodge Christmas Party Attendees Give Back with Cards

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A children's Christmas party took place Dec. 22 at Tampa Lodge. There was pizza, cookie-decorating, entertainment by Miz Daisy and lots of presents donated by very generous south Tampa residents at their local Walgreens. The children also made cards for the Paradise Elks Lodge that was recently destroyed by the California fires.

 

Tampa Lodge's Club Chivalry Spends Day at Florida Elks Youth Camp

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On Dec. 6, Tampa Lodge’s Club Chivalry took their annual teambuilding field trip to the Florida Elks Youth Camp. The students were offered pastries and breakfast beverages to enjoy as they left Tampa. When they arrived at the camp, the students were each given a long-sleeve T-shirt as their Christmas present. After a game of kickball and lunch, they went to the ropes course. The camp provided activity directors for the afternoon, and they started the teambuilding with low exercises. Eventually the students added helmets to their gear and took to the air. They did the high swing, climbed a challenging tower and catapulted down, and climbed the rock wall. The group left the camp around 5 p.m., had dinner on the way home and sang Christmas carols on the bus.

 

Tampa Elks and Friends Serve Christmas Dinner at Open Arms Ministry

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On Dec. 23, Tampa Elks continued their use of their Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to provide a Christmas brunch for about 170 homeless men and women at the Open Arms Ministry at Hyde Park United Methodist Church. In addition to the brunch, clients were offered free haircuts and there were intake counselors from the VA and from Metropolitan Ministries on hand. Their partners at Open Arms had the room decorated beautifully with poinsettias. There was also a table full of homemade gifts like scarves, mittens and beanie caps to distribute to the homeless. The Elks had purchased the food in a marathon shopping spree a week earlier but were unable to set up a prep date due to schedule conflicts, so the Tampa Elks team of PER Courtney Weil and Elk family members Adrian Higgins and Douglas Grant arrived very early to prep and cook and had the meal ready by 8 a.m. There were more than 15 offerings on the table and clients could come back for seconds or a carry-out after everybody had been served. The Elks had plenty of staffing including Legacy scholarship recipients Evan and Andrew Wyatt as well as several parent/child teams who had been to the children’s Christmas party the day before.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Provides Christmas Dinners to 300 Families

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On Dec. 21, St. Petersburg Lodge’s team of volunteers spearheaded by Christmas food drive chairman, Rudy Masi Sr., PDD, put together 300 Christmas dinner boxes which contained a complete Christmas dinner for a family of four to six people. Also included in each box was a $20 gift card from Publix for a ham or turkey. The lodge used the $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, the $2,000 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and the $1,500 Elks National Foundation Anniversary Grant to purchase the food. Members donated an additional $630-worth of food. With the cost of the gift cards, a total donation of $8,203.74 was made to the 300 families in their community. The volunteers delivered some of the boxes to families in need whose names had been submitted to the lodge and to Heaven on Earth for Veterans whose mission is to alleviate Pinellas County veteran homelessness by providing quality, low-cost, safe living spaces. The remaining boxes went to 38th Avenue Baptist Church to be delivered through their indigent family care list.

 

New Port Richey Lodge Participates in Holiday Parade

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New Port Richey Elks Lodge #2284 participated in the 35th holiday street parade Dec. 8 in downtown New Port Richey. They distributed over 2,000 strands of beads, 500 drug awareness ribbons and 300 drug awareness coloring books. This event was organized in the lodge by John Connors and Inner Guard, Gloria Tyler. Officers and members participated and were joined by the lodge’s young marines and their Elks Riders. Tom Mortka walked in his first parade as Elroy the Elk.

 

Tampa Elks Continue to Help Feed Community Members who are Homeless

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Tampa Lodge continues to support the Open Arms Ministry in feeding members of the community who are homeless. This program feeds brunch every Sunday to homeless veterans, families and individuals. The clothing closet is open every first Sunday of the month as well. Pictured are lodge members Douglas Grant and Patty Volpe.

 

Tampa Elks Support Club Chivalry's Career Day

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Tampa Lodge members were chaperones for Career Day at Robinson High School. Club Chivalry for Success members attended their on-campus field trip for a full day of career exploration. Lunch was prepared and purchased from the school’s culinary department. Pictured is a representative from Erwin Technical College’s electricity department.

 

Tampa Lodge's Club Chivalry Hosts Guest Speaker

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At Club Chivalry for Successful Students’ November meeting, the guest Speaker was U.S. Navy CW5 Ron Carpenter. He described his climb out of the south side of Chicago to become a top officer in the Navy. Tampa Elks Lodge #708 sponsors this student group.

 

Children in Foster Care Receive Christmas Gifts from Largo Lodge

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Again this year, Largo Lodge’s Christmas angel tree was a huge success. Members took one of the tags from the tree with an area child’s name who is in foster care. Their age, hobbies and wish gift request were included on the tag. Members provided a gift for their sponsored child, and the presents were distributed to the children before Christmas.

 

Largo Lodge Bartenders Hold Charity Auction

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Largo Elks Lodge’s bartenders held their second annual blind auction Nov. 10. The bartenders took a portion of their tips to buy fun gifts. In two and a half hours, over 170 items were auctioned off, raising $1,850 which was used to purchase Christmas gifts for underprivileged children. Pictured is Marcia Lowe, bar manager.

 

Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:

TinaH@elks.org

JessicaR@elks.org

 

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