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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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Stuart-Jensen Elks Lodge #1870 participated in Elev8hope’s Thanksgiving basket food drive. Elev8hope is a nonprofit organization in Stuart, Florida, that provides support and hope to struggling families with children. They work with local school social workers and the Martin County Sheriff's Office to find families in need of help. Using the $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant and $1,500 from the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant, the lodge purchased more than 150 turkeys for the baskets. They also used $500 from the Spotlight Grant to purchase nonperishable items to fill 48 baskets, which they delivered to Elev8hope. The lodge also participated in the distribution day Nov. 17, where the turkeys and the 5,600 baskets that community members made up were loaded and then delivered by the Martin County Sheriff's Office to the families in need. 

Pictured at the check presentation Oct. 21 at Elev8hope are Suzi Simonelli, PSP; Rinamarie Shpiruk, Elev8hope founder; Bob Alphonse, Exalted Ruler; Barbara Hartrick, PER; Alice Hurd, Lodge Treasurer; and Jackie Pearson, Lodge Secretary. The first responders in the back are from the Martin County Sheriff's Office and were there for their weekly meeting with Rina Shpiruk. Also pictured at the distribution day Nov. 17 are Barb Hartrick, PER and Suzi Simonelli, PSP helping to load some of the baskets and Suzi Simonelli, PSP; Barb Hartrick, PER; and Alice Hurd with some of the turkeys.


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Miami Elks Lodge #948 hosted a Hurricane Ian benefit relief concert Oct. 16. There were more than 200 Elks and community members in attendance. The musicians performing were “Slippery” Tim Brockland and The Messengers of Love, Group Therapy, The Original Cover Project (OCD), The 18 Wheelers, and the reunion performance of IKO IKO. This event was Tim Brockland’s idea, who is also an Elk. All of the proceeds went to the victims in Fort Myers, Florida, and the lodge donated the bar profits as well. A total of $5,200 was raised. They donated $1,000 to the Florida Elks Disaster Relief Fund, and the remaining $4,200 was converted into Walmart gift cards. On Oct. 24, a distribution team consisting of members Tim Brockland; Bill Bang, PER, Exalted Ruler; Sharon Weiss and Jennene Ricard drove to Fort Myers to give out the gift cards directly to residents who had damage from Hurricane Ian.

Pictured are Tim Brockland, Jennene Ricard, Sharon Weiss and Bill Bang. Also pictured are team members meeting with residents and Jennene Ricard and Tim Brockland surveying property damage.



Largo Elks Lodge #2159 held its fifth annual bartender auction Oct. 15 with record-breaking member turnout and record-breaking proceeds for the Largo Police Department’s Seniors Program. The bartenders are also lodge members. This year’s event began with Largo PD's Officer Quattlebaum playing a short video about the Seniors Program, which assists senior citizens when they need financial aid, home repairs and other similar assistance. For example, they purchased a bracelet for a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s disease so the family could easily find them if they became lost. They also paid for a hotel room for a veteran being evicted until he could enter veteran housing. Officer Bowling then explained a project that the Largo PD and the lodge collaborated on. Largo PD informed the lodge that people using the library were having their bicycles stolen because they didn’t have locks. The lodge worked with Harbor Freight to purchase bike locks to give to the library. Next, the $4,000 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant was presented to Officer Quattlebaum. Jeanne Reinhart, PDD, Lodge Advisor and lodge grant writer, has successfully applied for the Beacon Grant for the past six years, with it being donated to the Seniors Program the last several years. After the check presentation, a $20 challenge jar started that quickly went to $477. Finally, the auction began. Some items were available for regular bidding, while others were wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper, concealing the contents. Some items included a weekend beach rental, a Jack Daniels collector’s bottle, Navy Seal memorabilia and a challenge coin. Auction proceeds were $5,692, and along with the Beacon Grant, the total donated to the Largo Police Department Seniors Program was $9,692.

Pictured are Marcia Lowe, bar manager; Officer Quattlebaum; Gloria Todd, Exalted Ruler; Officer Bowling; Officer Soto; and Jeanne Reinhart, PDD.


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During the weekend of Oct. 8, the Northeast District Elks lodges, with the support of their communities and members, collected approximately 3,000 pounds of much-needed supplies to assist southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian. The collection drive was organized by Green Cove Springs Lodge Exalted Ruler, Al Williams, and his wife, Elenore. PER Ed Weston and member Steve Rigdon drove the supplies to Fort Myers, where they assisted members of the Brotherhood Ride as well as the Cajun Navy, an organization that provides support during natural disasters, in distributing the supplies.

Pictured are Elenore Williams, Green Cove Springs Lodge volunteer; Deb Reedy, Jacksonville Lodge Secretary; Brent Reedy, Jacksonville Lodge Lecturing Knight; Al Williams, Green Cove Springs Lodge Exalted Ruler; David Graham, Jacksonville Exalted Ruler; Shannon Graham, Jacksonville House Committee member; and Ed Weston, Green Cove Springs Lodge Past Exalted Ruler.

Also pictured are Ed Weston, PER; Tucker Mendoza, Cajun Navy representative; and member Steve Rigdon, as well as a trailer of supplies.


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On Oct. 4, Stephen “Clay” Perdue, house manager of the Gainesville Fisher House, accepted $1,000 from its Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant from Jerry Sartain of Gainesville Elks Lodge #990. The donation will assist the Fisher House in a water filtration system. The Fisher House supports America’s military members in their time of need. For members of the armed forces, retirees, veterans and their families, the Fisher House program offers shelter and support during a medical crisis, including wounded service members. They offer a comforting home away from home while a loved one is receiving care in an unfamiliar environment.


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On Oct. 3, Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge #2787 donated $1,500 to Holley-Navarre Elementary/Primary School, which will provide more than 270 students in grades kindergarten to second grade with take-home meals. This was a very important need due to the socioeconomic status of the student population. The lodge is also working with local business leaders to create partnerships that will gain additional contributors for this program.

Pictured are Thomas (TJ) Carey, Exalted Ruler; Ben Balsavichis, principal; and Libby Blackwood, lodge club manager.