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Florida Elks News Online

Palm Coast Elks Help Local Cold-Weather Shelter

2709 Tree

On March 4, the Sheltering Tree held their fundraiser at Palm Coast Elks Lodge #2709. With the donation made by the lodge, the event brought in nearly $11,000 for the organization. Lodge Exalted Ruler Ralph Dodge related that “This year is the 150th anniversary of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and our Elks National Foundation has granted the lodge $1,500 as part of the celebration. This is a great way to support our community through the Sheltering Tree’s important work.”

The Sheltering Tree is a nondenominational civic organization created to provide food and shelter during the many nights per year that the temperature drops below 40 degrees in Flagler County which does not have a permanent shelter. Over the nine years the shelter has been in operation, the number of nights below 40 degrees has varied from 9 to 40. The Sheltering Tree is run completely by volunteers and also provides clothing, work boots, gas assistance, transportation tickets to return home, and assistance with obtaining state identification and rental security deposits. One day, the organization hopes to be able to offer showers and laundry facilities.

Sheltering Tree Director, Susan Bickings, received a $1,500 donation from Palm Coast Lodge by ER Ralph Dodge during the organization’s fundraiser.


Elks and Bay Pines VA Give a Merry Christmas to Veteran and Family

Bay VA

The following letter was sent by the Director of Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.

I CARE Values in Action:
Supporting Veterans During the Holidays

Dear Colleagues,

The holidays are a time of year to spend time with your loved ones and give gifts, but for some of our country’s most noble men and women, the holiday season can be difficult. Despite being out of uniform, many veterans are still fighting battles and are completely without support.

This year, a collaboration of inpatient surgical nursing staff, Voluntary Service, the Elks, Transition and Care Management (TCM) staff, and the staff from the Homeless program made sure that this was not the case for a veteran and his family of nine this holiday season.

The inpatient surgical nurses on 3D recently reached out to Voluntary Service to identify a family whom they could adopt for the holidays. Voluntary Service immediately thought of a family and connected the nursing staff with staff from the TCM program. 

The TCM program staff, currently supporting the veteran’s care needs, worked with the family to find out the children’s wishes and coordinate the delivery of holiday gifts.

The veteran and his family were chosen by the staff after learning about their current circumstances. After moving to the area from Alaska for a new job opportunity, the family encountered several unexpected events that left them without the ability to secure housing.

Voluntary Service and the Elks quickly stepped in to provide temporary housing. In addition, the Homeless Program’s outreach team collaborated with Supportive Services for Veteran Families, a community agency, to secure stable permanent housing.

With the help of several VA programs and community partners, the veteran and his family celebrated a holiday they will soon not forget.

The nursing staff provided seven bikes with helmets, six gifts for each child, four family gifts, a $75 Walmart gift card and full holiday meal.

I am also happy to report that the veteran has successfully started his new job and that his children have started attending local public schools.

I want to thank everyone involved. Your thoughtfulness and concern for this veteran and his family’s needs during the holidays illustrate the core values that we strive to exemplify not just during the holidays but daily. Thank you for making the mission of our organization the center of everything you do.


Suzanne M. Klinker

Director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Pictured are staff from the Transition Care Management program, inpatient surgical nursing staff and representatives from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.


The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation's leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 4,000 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing high-quality care to veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization operates nine facilities to include the medical center located in Bay Pines and clinics located throughout a 10-county area in southwest Florida.

To learn more about the facilities and services offered by the Bay Pines VAHCS, please visit, "like" us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

Have News You Want to Share?

We want to hear from you! The Florida Elks News Online site is a timely way to tell the world all about the good things happening at your Lodge. You can keep your members up-to-date in between the printed quarterly FEN editions by sending your news articles here. The online FEN version is already one of the most popular pages on the FSEA website so you don't want to miss out on this terrific way to promote your Lodge with members and the general public. As we receive news and pictures from you, we will post them here immediately. You will also want to visit this site frequently so be sure to bookmark it as one of your favorites right now!

As an added bonus for sending articles for publication on the Florida Elks News Online site, we will also post them to the FSEA Facebook page which regularly has over 15,000 unique weekly viewers. You heard right! You will get double the coverage to a wide audience!

There are a couple of ways to submit online articles. For the more adventuresome, you can make a submission by going to the FSEA online submission webpage at This page can also be accessed anytime via the NEWS CENTER menu link at the top of the FSEA website page. For those of you who prefer email, please send articles and pictures to Rachael King at It's just that easy!

Let's hear from you and work together to get your lodge recognized for its outstanding community programs!


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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