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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Richard E. Bardsley, PDD

Eustis Anna Miller Ladies Pack Donations for The Haven

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Five Elks and eight Anna Miller ladies met May 3 at Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 to pack $5,178-worth of items for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. The packing included 305 adult welcome kits (travel-size toiletries, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) and 54 children’s welcome kits with a small toy included, 24 suitcases, over $1500-worth of gently worn clothes, 32 Beanie Babies and seven sets of towels. As a new addition to the program, the packing included 22 birthday kits (cake, frosting and candles) so mothers can bake a birthday cake for their child when they find themselves in the shelter for their birthday. This was added to the program at the request of The Haven staff.

The Anna Miller #1578 is proud to continue this very worthwhile program which helps abused women, children, teens, and rape victims start a new and safe life. The ladies appreciate the continued support of Eustis Lodge.


Winter Garden Lodge Holds Awards Presentation

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Winter Garden Elks Lodge #2165 held their community service awards and presented awards to the following: Mayor Rusty Johnson, Citizen of the Year; Pam DePriest, Elk of the Year; Byrd Severance, Officer of the Year; Isamar Zepeda, Educator Support Person of the Year; Joe Ponzini, Firefighter of the Year; Brian Harris, Police Office of the Year; and MSgt. Gary Ward, Veteran of the Year.


News from Winter Park Elks Lodge

Winter Park Elks Lodge #1830 used $3,000 from Elks National Foundation grants on school supplies for three local elementary schools and fundraisers that keep their food pantries filled all year. This was led by Exalted Ruler Vivian Thomas.

As Winter Park Lodge does every year, they gave 13 local students $1,000 college scholarships as they applied for ENF Most Valuable Student scholarships. The parents came to the lodge for dinner and watched as their child received the award. These children are so deserving and were so appreciative.

The dictionary committee of Winter Park Lodge of PER Ron Goluba and Lecturing Knight, Bill Belcher, distributed 2,770 dictionaries to third-grade students in 20 Seminole County schools. The lodge raised $4,155 for this program. The lodge is recognized among the top such donors in the country.


Lodge #2730 Holds Gala to Promote Elkdom

South Marion-Villages Elks Lodge #2730 celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Elks  with a gala promoting Elkdom that was organized by Exalted Ruler Brian Seybert and his wife, Tracey. Local dignitaries attending the gala included Senator Dennis Baxley; Sheriff Billy Woods; Belleview Mayor, Christine Dobkowski, and husband, Robert; and Marion County Fire Chief, James Banta, and his wife. Seniors from Marion Frances Military Academy served the meal.


Eustis Elks News

Eustis Lodge held their annual Police & Fire Officers of the Year appreciation dinner for four police departments, Lake County Sheriff's Department, five fire departments and six police dogs. The Mount Dora High School ROTC performed the Table of Honor ceremony and the lodge presented them a check for $1,400.  

Eustis Lodge also donated $2,000 to a local young boy who is blind to have an operation for vision.  He was provided care with Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services a few years ago with therapist Diane Norton.

The Eustis Anna Miller Circle held a Chinese auction to raise money for children to attend the Florida Elks Youth Camp.


Inverness Elks' Sweetheart Ball Benefits Abuse Center

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Inverness Lodge’s Sweetheart Ball was held to support the Citrus Abuse Shelter Association (CASA). The lodge was beautifully decorated and served a gourmet meal created by PER Mike Wagenblast. CASA’s CEO, Sunshine Arnold, was present and received a donation of $1,000 to benefit her organization.

CASA is a private, nonprofit organization incorporated May 2, 1983, with a mission to empower victims of domestic violence to become independent. CASA provides shelter, safety, intervention, and education to victims and the community for social change.

Pictured are Inverness ER, Bill McAvay; CASA CEO, Sunshine Arnold; Lodge Trustee, Anthony Kopka; and Sweetheart Ball Chairperson, Betty Osborne.


Eustis Anna Miller Ladies Pack Record-Making Donation for The Haven

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On Jan. 18, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle met to pack a record-making donation for The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. The Haven offers 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter for domestic and sexual violence victims and their minor children. Ongoing support and resources for the victims and their children are provided at no cost by The Haven. Twelve Anna Miller volunteers and four Elks packed 373 adult welcome kits and 74 children’s welcome kits along with gently worn suitcases and clothes for a total value of $6,249.50. The adult welcome kits contain travel-size soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, a razor and other small items they might need when first arriving at the center. The children’s kits contain shampoo, children’s soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, tissues, a small toy and other items children might need. Thanks to a generous contribution from a Ty Beanie Baby collector, this packing included 200 new Beanie Babies for the children.

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Generous Donor Allows Eustis Anna Miller Circle to Help The Haven

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Because of a generous donation from Elaine Smialek, the Eustis Anna Miller Circle was able to donate a check for $1,000 to The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties to purchase replacement mattresses that are greatly needed at the shelter. The Executive Director of The Haven, Kelly Smallridge, has a fundraising walk scheduled in February to purchase 17 new mattresses. She said this donation will give them a much-needed start on that goal.

Pictured are Haven Executive Director, Kelly Smallridge (center), and Sherry Piskadlo and Suzanne Cunningham, co-chairs of The Haven Project for Eustis Anna Miller Circle.


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:


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