Jacksonville Lodge delivered its seventh ENVSC Welcome Home Kit Aug. 13 to Mark, a Marine veteran who graduated from the Five Star Veterans Center program. The Five Star Veterans Center is a residential facility for veterans with mental and physical health issues. Their Passport to Independence program is an intense 12-month program to help them successfully transition to a healthy, independent lifestyle.
Pictured with the trailer filled with furniture are Karen Tracy, Lodge Veterans Services Chair; John Pipkins, House Committee member; and Robin Pipkins, Leading Knight, Lodge Elks National Foundation Fundraising Chair and District Elks National Foundation Grants Chair. Also pictured are Karen Tracy, David Graham, Robin Pipkins and Mark.
On Aug. 16, Brooksville Elks Lodge #2582 donated its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to People Helping People of Hernando County Weekend Blessings Project, which provides weekend food for students in need. Lodge members will also pack and deliver food every weekend throughout the school year to two schools.
Pictured are Dana Cutlip, grant committee; Carr Hussey, PER; Laurie Bianchi, member; Andy Andretta, member; Jane Hussey, House Committee; Nancy Andretta, House Committee; and Theresa Murray, member.
On Sept. 9, Winter Garden Lodge held a community fundraiser for 2-year-old Kennedy, the granddaughter of a member, who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye. She has had two chemotherapy treatments, which her parents take her to Miami for; the tumor seems to be responding to treatment. She has lost sight in one of her eyes, but her team of specialists is hoping to save the other eye. Approximately $15,000 was raised during the event from sales of pulled pork sandwiches; specially made T-shirts that said, “Elks Won’t Let Her Fight Alone – I’m Part of Kennedy’s Crew;” bracelets; and hearts. Donors wrote messages on the hearts for Kennedy to take with her to treatment to remind her of their support. Donations were also made from a dart tournament, dessert and basket raffles, and attendees making monetary donations. The lodge is still receiving donations, too. Exalted Ruler, Carolyn Robbins, shared, “When Elks do a fundraiser to help someone in need it's not just the happiness you see with the family. You can see the happiness in being an Elk. Proud to be an Elk proud of the members and the sunshine that beamed from their smile.”
Pictured are Blake Wood with his daughter, Kennedy, on his shoulders; Carolyn Robbins, Exalted Ruler, and member Kristen Craine working at the sales table; the dessert sales table; and a community member at the raffle table.
On Aug. 16, Holiday Isles Elks Lodge #1912 donated $5,000 to the Fisher House, which acts as a free temporary home for families of hospitalized military service members and veterans receiving care at military VA medical centers.
Pictured are Donald Murphy, Fisher House volunteer; lodge members Darrell Hutter and Dee Mercer; Samantha Webb, Fisher House program support specialist; Shentrela Diggins, Fisher House manager; and lodge members Paula DeBlasio and Loren Hanke.
On July 30, Sanford Elks Lodge #1241 hosted its second annual Family Fun Day and Back-to-School Supply Drive. Using the Elks National Foundation Beacon and Gratitude Combo Grant and the Florida State Elks Association matching grant, the lodge filled 312 backpacks with all the school supplies on the elementary school supply list. In addition, the event included lunch, crafts, a balloon artist and face painting. There were also special stations for the Sanford Police Department, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, including therapist Beth Thiers. There were more than 400 people in attendance. The remaining backpacks from the event were donated to the Sanford Police Department’s Community Relations division.
An overview of the event
Lisa Lindstrom, PER, Exalted Ruler; Autumn Garick, Seminole County School Board member; Davina Watercutter, member; Pam VanNess, PER; and Natalie Carver, member
9-year-old Nathan Wofford, third grade; 11-year-old Kylie Wofford, fifth grade; and Natalie Carver, member
Some of the volunteers and members of Sanford Elks for Family Fun Day
On Aug. 19, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 held a fundraising dinner for Paws for Patriots. One of the guests, retired Major League Baseball player Tommy John, nicknamed The Bionic Man, helped raise $1,000 by signing baseballs to be sold at a silent auction.
Tommy John is pictured signing a baseball for member Charlotte Mader.