Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
 
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
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Umatilla, FL 32784-0049
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2469 care package

On March 7, Jupiter Lodge members Susan Aubrey and Alma Foreman deliver a care package to a veteran in need. The package was made possible through the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant.

 

2469 AOH

On Feb. 22, Jupiter Elks Lodge #2469 hosted the Southeast District annual Army of Hope picnic where the district comes together and raises funds for active duty military personnel and their families. This year’s event surpassed its fundraising goals.

 

Due to the cancellation of baseball’s spring training, the Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge’s Veterans Committee was unable to take 32 veterans to a game March 22. The committee was going to use the Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant for this activity. The Elks National Foundation gave them an extension of one month but also encouraged them to make a donation to a worthy veteran’ cause. Upon getting the grant money back, they made a $2,000 donation to Southeastern Guide Dogs.

 

An Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant of $2,180 was used Feb. 8 to supply services to 18 veterans who are homeless in Indian River County. The lodge and the Vietnam Veterans of Indian River County hosted a Stand Down to aid veterans who are homeless and in need. The lodge donated tents, bedding, underwear, socks, clothing and personal hygiene products. More than 10 members helped with the distribution.

Also in February, Vero Beach Lodge donated $2,000 to American Gold Star Mothers Inc. and $1,000 to the Army of Hope.

 

On Jan. 23, Hollywood West Elks Lodge #2365 hosted Re-Creation as the dinner entertainment at the lodge. The event raised $1,000 for the Army of Hope, a Florida Elks program designed to support military families. In addition, a basket raffle brought in $1,000 for the Elks National Foundation which was presented to Grand Exalted Ruler, Robert Duitsman, by Jim Blanchard, Exalted Ruler, Feb. 6 at the Florida Elks quarterly meeting at the Florida Elks Youth Camp.

 

2166 dolphin vet

The Veterans Committee of Boca Raton Elks Lodge #2166 continues its monthly trips to Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, Florida, with veterans. These visits offer dolphin therapy to veterans suffering from various afflictions, including PTSD. The visits are funded by the Elks National Foundation Beacon and Freedom grants and the Harry-Anna Trust Fund matching Beacon Grant. Pictured is a young Florida Atlantic University/Palm Beach State College veteran interacting with a dolphin.

 

2734 knives

On March 5, Manasota Elks Lodge #2734 presented to Vets 2 Success founder, Bryan Jacobs, five Mercer Culinary Millennia eight-piece knife roll sets and five Mercer Culinary Mercer rules purchased with the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. These culinary products are for the next Vets 2 Success veteran culinary training. Vets 2 Success offers a solution for returning veterans to learn a new skill that will give them purpose in their lives and the ability to support themselves and their families. Manasota Lodge has been supporting Vets 2 Success for three years with the Elks National Foundation Community Investments Program. Pictured are Ken Davis; Diane Davis; Jan “Spike” Klocke; Jim Klocke, Manasota Veterans chairman; Bryan Jacobs, Vets 2 Success founder; Ginny Kollath and Jim Kollath.

 

2731 44 Cornelius Gray 2731 45 Frank Camibge

Cornelius Gray Jr. with Ken Fabiani, PER                                             Ken Fabiani, PER with Frank Camibge

2731 46 Barbara Limbert 2731 47 Willie BJ Spann

Ken Fabiani, PER with Barbara Limbert and Dee Mauro                      Dee Mauro with Willie BJ Spann and Ken Fabiani, PER

Zephyrhills Lodge furnished four more veterans' homes between Feb. 27 and March 6.

 

The South Southwest District Army of Hope was held at Punta Gorda Lodge Feb. 23 and raised more than $17,200 for deployed military families and disabled veterans. Funds were raised in several ways. Food and beverages that were donated were sold to attendees. They also held a Chinese auction and 50/50 and lottery boards. Donations were also received. There were approximately 1,500 members and guests as this was open to the public. The local American Legion and JROTC were in attendance to present the colors. Six bands donated their time to play throughout the day.

 

          ENF shower gifts ENF shower moms

Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221 hosted a community baby shower for military mothers Feb. 15 using funds from the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant and member donations from the lodge’s diaper drive. Ten mothers were in attendance with their husbands or friends and their children. “Events like these are so special for our military families that don’t have any family in the area. Because of this we asked each mom to send us their wish list of items that they would like to receive at the baby shower,” says Deborah McCabe Reedy, PER, a member of Saratoga-Wilton, New York Lodge #161 who volunteers with Jacksonville Lodge. Gifts included a stroller/car seat set, highchair, baby swings, travel playpen, bathtubs, hygiene products, baby clothes, pacifiers, toys, bottles, bath towels and wash cloths, diapers, and wipes. The mothers also got to choose a homemade baby blanket crocheted by McCabe Reedy. Lunch, homemade cookies and treats were provided as well and was handled by member Sarah Schllesinger. Guests played games with the winners receiving gift bags donated by member Susan Kelly as well as an “Advance My Baby” book from the Florida State Elks Association. Kelly also hosted baby trivia. A raffle drawing earned two attendees a diaper cake made by member Robin Pipkins. Carmel Reed oversaw the children’s reading room. Brent Reedy, also a member of Saratoga-Wilton Lodge, helped shop for and transport the larger items with McCabe Reedy and donated the collection box for the diaper drive and pizza for the shower. Jacksonville Lodge Exalted Ruler, Bill Watson, offered his and the lodge’s assistance if they were ever in need of help with anything. J acksonville Elks Lodge #221 hosted a community baby shower for military mothers Feb. 15 using funds from the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant and member donations from the lodge’s diaper drive. Ten mothers were in attendance with their husbands or friends and their children. “Events like these are so special for our military families that don’t have any family in the area. Because of this we asked each mom to send us their wish list of items that they would like to receive at the baby shower,” says Deborah McCabe Reedy, PER, a member of Saratoga-Wilton, New York Lodge #161 who volunteers with Jacksonville Lodge. Gifts included a stroller/car seat set, highchair, baby swings, travel playpen, bathtubs, hygiene products, baby clothes, pacifiers, toys, bottles, bath towels and wash cloths, diapers, and wipes. The mothers also got to choose a homemade baby blanket crocheted by McCabe Reedy. Lunch, homemade cookies and treats were provided as well and was handled by member Sarah Schllesinger. Guests played games with the winners receiving gift bags donated by member Susan Kelly as well as an “Advance My Baby” book from the Florida State Elks Association. Kelly also hosted baby trivia. A raffle drawing earned two attendees a diaper cake made by member Robin Pipkins. Carmel Reed oversaw the children’s reading room. Brent Reedy, also a member of Saratoga-Wilton Lodge, helped shop for and transport the larger items with McCabe Reedy and donated the collection box for the diaper drive and pizza for the shower. Jacksonville Lodge Exalted Ruler, Bill Watson, offered his and the lodge’s assistance if they were ever in need of help with anything. 

Kelly Stull from Blue Star Families of Jacksonville was in attendance as well, and each family received a generous amount of books and the kids received T-shirts. 

Wendy Weir-Layton of Blue Star Families helped by finding the families to invite. The guests appreciated how welcome they were made to feel by the members. The lodge hopes to continue this event as an ongoing project in their military community with more Elks National Foundation grants.

ENF shower books

Jacksonville Lodge members Susan Kelly and Dixie Ward; Kelly Stull from Blue Star Families; member Betsy Bryant; and Deborah McCabe Reedy, PER look over books at Jacksonville Lodge Feb. 15 that were donated to promote literacy.

 

2159 newborns

Alice Wallace, project coordinator for Largo Elks Lodge's Operation Little Big Feet, and Edyie Day, Lodge Treasurer, prepare boxes of handmade newborn sweaters, hats, blankets, and baby toys to be sent to the Naval base pediatric department in Jacksonville, Florida. This shipment went out Feb. 20. The lodge has been sending items here for almost two years. Donations over this time period are valued at over $4,000. The base hospital has approximately 3,000 births per year.

 

708 vets 1

On Feb. 28, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 hosted 25 veterans from James A. Haley VA Hospital and the VA domiciliary for dinner and dessert. To their surprise, one of their lodge members was on the bus from the VAMC. Pictured are veteran Carl Camon, Tampa Lodge volunteer Carolyn Miller, and Tampa Elk and veteran Walter Steward.