Kissimmee Lodge purchased and delivered 619 student dictionaries to four elementary school third graders in the county Oct. 21. They also included drug awareness red ribbons in the dictionaries to serve as bookmarks. Funds for the dictionaries came from private donations and the lodge’s charity account.
On Sept. 7, Kissimmee Elks Lodge #1873 held its annual public safety night honoring area first responders and the County Corrections Department. Pictured are Kissimmee Police Detective, Justin Lunsford; Osceola County Corrections Classification Specialist, Patricia Bollinger; Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, Joseph Santos; Saint Cloud Fire/Rescue Engineer, Marissa Garbade; Kissimmee Fire Department Engineer, Kris Klemm; and Osceola County Sheriff's Department Deputy, Chris Hall.
On July 30, West Citrus Elks Lodge #2693 presented the Citrus County Abuse Shelter (CASA) with a check for $750 from the Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant. Presenting the donation to Deborah Peterson, program manager for CASA, is Exalted Ruler, Cindy Green.
On June 3, the Veterans Committee of Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 donated toys to the lodge’s Feed the Kids program, the first day of this year’s program. The committee will continue to donate toys each Monday until the program is complete in August. The Feed the Kids program is in its fourth year at the lodge. Children and caretakers can visit the lodge for lunch Monday through Friday. The lodge also provides games for the children. Members also volunteer to read and help the kids with their reading. They have a library from which the kids can take books home. In the program’s first year, 500 were fed. Last year, the total was over 4,000, and this year’s goal is 5,000.
Donna Moyer, PER, coordinator for Zephyrhills Lodge’s Feed the Kids program, receives a donation of toys from the lodge Veterans Committee presented by Ken Fabiani, PER, Veterans Committee chairman.
On March 19, Zephyrhills Lodge donated $500 to the Zephyrhills JROTC for their basketball program. Shirley LeClair, Loyal Knight, and Ken Fabiani, Exalted Ruler, presented the check to Sgt. Smith.
On Feb. 12, Shirley Crawford of Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 and Terry VanAlstine of New York’s Canojoharie-Fort Plain Elks Lodge #2621 delivered more than 170 pounds of pop tops to the Shriners Hospital in Tampa, Fla. Canojoharie Moose Lodge #853 also collected tabs. As always, the hospital was thankful for the donation which will be returned to them as cash to fund their programs.
Ken Fabiani, Zephyrhills Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler, presents a leaf blower to Darryl Oney, VP of the Zephyrhills Little League.
Zephyrhills Elks Lodge #2731 held the local Hoop Shoot competition Dec. 15 at the local YMCA. Winners from Zephyrhills Lodge are Jazmine May (girls 12-13), Malachi May (8-9 boys), Clayton Rogers (10-11 boys) and Eeori Pope (12-13 boys).
Through donations, 50/50 drawings and many generous individuals, Zephyrhills Lodge presented $6,200-worth of gift cards for holiday meals to teen students of Zephyrhills High School who are homeless. Attending the presentation were principal, Angie Shone; registrar, Diane Vaughn; Exalted Ruler, Ken Fabiani; and Past Exalted Rulers Dave Moyer, Alice Perry, Bill Knapp, Shirley Crawford and Elsie McFarland.
West Citrus Elks Lodge #2693 raised enough money from member donations to contribute more than 100 turkeys to the WE Care Food Pantry for Thanksgiving. Lodge and ladies members also raised nearly $3,000 for children of Homosassa who are less fortunate than themselves.
Lodge members contributed over $1,200 to the veterans committee to purchase Christmas gifts for veterans who are confined to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
Kissimmee Elks Lodge #1873 hosted over 300 children who are in foster care along with their families at the Christmas carnival Dec. 8. This was the third year for the event which was made possible from Elks National Foundation grants. Organizing the event was Community Based Care and their agencies. This was a community affair with volunteers from various agencies including 50 Elks.
Activities included pictures with Mr. & Mrs. Claus (Charles and Lorraine Barker), ornament-making, a hula hoop contest, family photos, packaging s’mores and a bounce house. The sheriff brought a police canine and the fire department had a truck on display. Music was provided all day and hot dogs, hamburgers, and sides were available.
As the families entered the lodge, the children were directed to activities while parents had choices of age-appropriate gifts for the children. Personal shoppers were available to find the perfect gifts and Santa’s helpers were available to wrap and keep the presents a surprise.
To celebrate Fire Prevention Week, Zephyrhills Lodge held a fundraiser Oct. 18 for Zephyrhills Fire Rescue. Nearly half the department is made up of volunteer members. The department works three 48-hour shifts and could not function without their volunteers. Susan Slater, lodge events planning chairman, coordinated the event which included 50/50 raffles, food sales and children’s games with toy prizes for the winners. The Florida Antique Bucket Brigade (FABB) was there including Mike Morris, who attended his rookie training for Tampa Fire Department in 1952 on the 1925 Seagrave pumper which he displayed proudly. He now owns the pumper and restored it to its original condition. PER David Moyer presented Morris with a certificate honoring him as the first president of the FABB in 1977. Also on display were the 1914 American LaFrance and the 1934 Ahrens Fox pumper along with others from the 1950s; all now belong to other FABB members. In attendance were the Zephyrhills and the Pasco County fire rescues. The event raised $450 which was presented to lodge member Blake Donaldson of Zephyrhills Fire Rescue Nov. 5 at a lodge meeting.