On Dec. 13, Boca Raton lodge members donated more than 20 bicycles to be distributed to the American Association of Caregiving Youth for the holidays. A donation of sporting goods and gift cards was also made. This association works to help children who are caring for ill or terminally ill parents. Pictured with some bicycles are Shirley Board, Loyal Knight; Tito Young, PER; and Paula Buss, lodge member.
For the 2021 holidays, the Fort Pierce Elks Lodge Backpack Program helped 12 public schools and more than 1,200 homeless and in-need students attending the schools in St. Lucie County, Florida. To provide this assistance, they used the Elks National Foundation $3,500 Beacon Grant and the $3,500 state association matching funds along with the $2,000 Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant and member donations. The backpack program’s team of volunteers worked several months to accomplish this. Donations included new school clothes, underwear, socks, hygiene kits, Christmas gifts, treats, toys, food and snacks. Delivery to the schools was Dec. 7 and teachers will give them to students in need Dec. 16 before they leave for the holiday break. Pictured during the packing at the lodge are Peggy Noel, Elkettes president, and lodge members Jean Citto; Dick Smith; Gail Van Horn; Bob Citto; Scott Borrow; Tricia Swayngim, Exalted Ruler; Ann Smith; Lenny Smallacombe, backpack program chair; and Barb Smallacombe, PDD.
On Nov. 21, Hollywood West Elks Lodge #2365 used its Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant and teamed with Hope Outreach Center to distribute gift cards and Thanksgiving food for families in need. The lodge donated $2,000 worth of Publix gift cards and the center donated food. HOPE (Helping Other People Everyday) Outreach Center is located in Davie, Florida, near the lodge and serves southwest Broward County by offering food, financial support, and educational and social services.
Pictured placing items in the trunk are Mike Maiocco, trustee; Theresa Maiocco; Paul Houser, PER; and Joanne Robinson, director of Hope Outreach Center.
Also pictured are Joanne Robinson; Greg Robinson, volunteer for Hope Outreach Center; Eddie Scanlon, Exalted Ruler; Theresa Maiocco; Mike Maiocco; Patricia Perez, staff member at Hope Outreach Center.
On Nov. 18, members of Eustis Elks Lodge’s Anna Miller Circle completed their yearly Thanksgiving meal packing, this year for Triangle Elementary School. Each of the 25 food bags contained stuffing, four canned vegetables, two packages of mashed potatoes, two containers of gravy, cranberry sauce, and a cake mix or brownie mix. Additional items like cereal, macaroni and cheese, and fruit were also included. Each bag was valued at $50, plus, they added a $20 gift certificate to Publix so each family could select the meat of their choice. The total value of this gift was $1,750. Food donations for this project were received from Anna Miller Circle members as well as lodge members. Pictured are Judy McCarroll, Anna Miller Circle treasurer, and Chris Getchell, Anna Miller Circle president. Also pictured are Debbie Hartog, principal, and Getchell.
On Nov. 29, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 teamed with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) in support of their annual Angel Tree program. The Angel Tree program is a Christmas effort to ensure children can enjoy their Christmas. The program focuses on families in need and the less fortunate who are part of the Crestview community. There were approximately 162 children listed on the Angel Tree this year, more than double from last year’s 63 children in need due to the pandemic. Crestview Lodge adopted six of the children and spent $500. Natalia Reis-Fredriksen, Lodge Secretary, donated the rest to make the total $612. Reis-Fredriksen coordinated with the sheriff’s office and purchased more than 40 items to distribute to the children, including shoes, socks, winter jackets, pants, shirts, toys and art materials. Members of the sheriff’s office will wrap the gifts and distribute them appropriately.
Pictured Nov. 30 with the gifts is Deputy Matthew Langer.
On Nov. 6, the Pensacola Beach Lodge Ladies of the Elks presented a check for $1,000 for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services to State President Suzi Simonelli. The Ladies of the Elks hosted a Painting with a Twist night at the lodge, which raised more than $500. They have also done a few jewelry raffles of rings that were donated to them, and they do well with raffle baskets. Their Mother's Day basket raised a record $1,300, and a Blue Angels basket netted approximately $700. Pictured presenting the check to Simonelli are Shelby Smith; Harriet Gossett, Vice President; Jennifer Ross, President; and Kevin Clemons, PDD, District Leader.