The Zephyrhills Elks Lodge’s Veterans Committee received four pallets of coffee, over 280 cases, from an anonymous donor, to use at their discretion. On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, the committee distributed coffee to five fire departments (three in Zephyrhills and two in Dade City), the Zephyrhills Police Department, a Presbyterian church, Pasco County Meals on Wheels, Healing Hearts Cafe and the lodge.
Between Dec. 3 and Dec. 13, Brooksville Elks Lodge #2582 used its $4,000 Harry-Anna Trust Fund matching grant funds of the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and its angel tree funds to hold Christmas parties with gifts for the New Beginnings Youth Shelter and three assisted living facilities in Hernando County. It was a huge success and there was an overwhelming number of members who volunteered their time and energy.
On Nov. 11, Zephyrhills Lodge members Kelli Ackett; Cynthia Pinto, special functions; and Ilene Nutting, Treasurer, hosted a fundraiser for the Lodge Veterans Committee. Members and guests dressed in their military uniforms and military-style clothing. The entertainment was by Better than Nothing, who sang songs through the decades in a USO performance style. There were door prizes and raffles and a meal of meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. Ackett got the local Chick-fil-A involved, which sponsors and donates to the USO. On Dec. 18, they presented $1,000 to the lodge, a portion of their profits from Veterans Day Sales. After expenses from the dance, another $620 was raised for veterans.
Pictured with the Chick-fil-A mascot are members Kelli Ackett; Cynthia Pinto; Paul Nutting, Exalted Ruler; and Ilene Nutting, Treasurer.
On Dec. 13, Dottie Sollmann, Zephyrhills Lodge volunteer and widow of a member, hosted the annual Special Citizens Christmas party. Throughout the year, the lodge raised funds with 50/50 raffles at fish fries and other events, and members made donations as well. Party guests were from local adult day care centers, facilities and autistic schools. Lunch included hamburgers, french fries and punch, with ice cream and cookies for dessert. Member Barry Oliver donated his time to play Christmas songs. Santa (Steve Ipson) gave everyone a stocking filled with goodies as well as stuffed animals, which were donated by the lodge Veterans Committee.
Volunteers pictured are Corrine Turner (nonmember), Barbara Conklin, Ceil Muloon (spouse of an Elk), Marge Brooks, Beth Ipson, Valary Roberts (Antlers member), Donna Penrod, Dottie Sollmann (widow of an Elk) and Barbara Wilson. Also pictured is the dining hall filled with guests.
On Dec. 20, Orlando Lodge provided a young family in need with a holiday gift. Salome Piedrahita received five Publix Supermarket gift cards totaling $125. In addition, she received $100 cash to buy presents for her 12-year-old twin siblings, Nicholas and Maria. Salome is a 24-year-old full-time college student at the University of Central Florida. She works full-time and is raising her siblings after both parents died of cancer. Although family members wanted the smaller children to move to New York, she promised their mother that she would not separate the family. Salome shows them value, takes them to church, encourages them to study hard and even finds time to volunteer at the lodge.
Pictured are Mike McClay, Exalted Ruler; Salome Piedrahita; and Diane Politi, Secretary. Also pictured are Nicholas Delarosa, Salome Piedrahita and Maria Delarosa.