On Oct. 26, the Florida Forest Festival was held and Elroy the Elk (lodge member Paul Miller Jr.) was in the parade, much to the delight of the kids in attendance. The lodge was also pleased to host the return of the Mr. & Mrs. Tourist for the Florida Forest Festival. Mr. & Mrs. Tourist were picked from the visiting RV campers for the past year. They attended the downtown events Friday night, rode in the parade Saturday morning, received the key to the city from the mayor, and were honored guests at the Florida Forest Festival Elks ball.
Thanksgiving food baskets were prepared by Perry Lodge and distributed by Taylor County United. Seven baskets were loaded with nonperishable items and each basket included a $50 gift card for purchase of additional food. The lodge also sent six gifts to the Lake City VA Domiciliary for Thanksgiving and bought clothes and toys for 16 children in Taylor County.
Perry Elks Lodge #1851 sponsored a Soccer Shoot Oct. 12 with eight kids from the community attending. First place winners and their parents traveled to Tavares, Fla., for the regional Soccer Shoot Dec. 14. All first place winners advanced to the state Soccer Shoot Jan. 4 at the Florida Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla, Fla. Pictured are the regional Soccer Shoot winners.
For the holiday season, Live Oak Elks Lodge #1165 partnered with the Suwannee County Economic Council to assemble Christmas baskets and chose families to receive those baskets, this year going to more elders and veterans. Lodge members donated nonperishable items.
Lake City Elks Lodge’s Hoop Shoot was held Dec. 17. Trey Hosford and Jay Swisher helped to ensure the event’s success and involved the community to show they care about youth.
On Dec. 21, Lake City Lodge delivered Christmas food baskets to help community families in need. Donations of food, both nonperishable and uncooked turkeys from members, help fund this event as well as proceeds from the lodge’s Christmas raffle tickets. A silent auction was also conducted in early December. Santa visited the lodge Dec. 24 and gave presents to all the kids from the community who attended.
On Sept. 14, Perry Lodge hosted a biker bash and Jeep jam poker run that raised $607 for its youth activities program. Over 25 jeeps and motorcycles participated in the 100 mile run. The morning ride starting at the lodge and ended at Walter B’s, a favorite watering hole and tiki bar on Beach Road for a fun afternoon of fellowship and fundraising.
The Perry Lady Elks hosted a Christmas-in-July event where they prepared and sold barbecue lunches. Additional vendors set up as well for attendees to shop. Mr. and Mrs. Claus made an appearance as well. The event raised $807 for the Elks National Foundation.
During the summer, the Perry Lady Elks, Elk members and volunteers came together to help a local family battling leukemia. The family of four-year-old Marvin Overstreet was able to attend the lodge-sponsored brunch fundraiser, and he was definitely the star of the day! The Perry Lady Elks donated a check in the amount of $2,002.25 to the Overstreet family. The overwhelming love, relief and joy they were given during this event warmed the hearts of many and will help this family in covering the cost of travel for further treatments.
Perry Elks Lodge #1851 sent six youngsters this summer from the Perry, Fla., area to the Florida Elks Youth Camp – two kids going early in the camping season and four others going together later. Transportation to the camp was provided by six adults, including parents and lodge members, who carpooled to get the kids to camp and home again. Two of the campers were returning this year and have aspirations of becoming counselors-in-training next year.
Campers, parents and members make their way from Perry, Fla., to the Florida Elks Youth Camp for summer camp in Umatilla, Fla.
A back-to-school bash was held at Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 in August and featured the movie Mary Poppins as well as hot dogs, mac and cheese, popcorn, lemonade, and ice cream sandwiches. A special visit by Elroy the Elk was a surprise for both parents and kids. School supplies and cash were collected by the lodge and totaled $1,000 and was donated to Leon County Astoria Park Elementary School.
From Sept. 12-15, Tallahassee Lodge sponsored its annual Gretchen Everhart School trip to the Florida Elks Youth Camp. With the help of an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant of $2,000, the lodge procured two buses to transport kids and their families to the camp.
In April, Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937 hosted the WAVE (Widening Adult Vital Experience Inc.) spring event. WAVE is an organization comprised of adults who are emotionally and physically challenged, many of whom graduated from Gretchen Everhart School, who retain their social interaction with many friends from their youth. The lodge donates space for WAVE events without charge. This event included music provided by DJ "Captain Bob" Thorburn, Exalted Ruler, for the participants' dancing pleasure.
In concert with the local acting group Theatre Tallahassee, Tallahassee Lodge donated space and hosted an evening of theatre and dinner. The performance was comprised of four brief comedy skits and as the actors left the stage, they delivered plates of food to the folks in the audience. Food was served in four courses – one course between each act. Well attended, the evening allowed Theatre Tallahassee a free venue to share their acting skills and attract new audiences to further productions away from the local theatre where performances are normally staged.
The Lady Elks of Perry Lodge held a fundraising brunch June 30 to benefit Marvin Overstreet, a four-year-old boy battling leukemia. Marvin is receiving treatment in Gainesville, Fla., and funds raised will help his family offset travel costs as well as medical expenses.
Perry Lodge awarded four $500 scholarships to local students June 12 at the lodge and included dinner for the scholars and their families. Their goals included forensic scientist, CPA, industrial engineer, pilot and business management. Pictured are Kevin Eckel; Susan Lynn, incoming District Deputy; Clayton Huff, Exalted Ruler; Carley Ondash and Alyssa Broome. Not pictured is Eli Dorman.