Using approximately $1,450 of its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221 provided six local families with Christmas gifts and a holiday dinner which were delivered by Santa. Members enjoyed shopping, wrapping and delivering all the gifts to the families. Chair of this project, Betsy Bryant, is pictured wrapping gifts. Santa is also pictured with a thankful mother.
On Nov. 24, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 donated 40 hams and turkeys to the Green Cove Springs Police Department to assist in their holiday community outreach. These were delivered to local families to help with their holiday dinners. Pictured are Richard Felkey, lodge member, and his wife, Delores Felkey; Gerilynn Barton, evidence custodian and lodge member; Commander Shawn Hines; Officer Josh Lee; and Officer Nick Rubin.
On Dec. 1, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 donated $1,000 from its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to the Green Cove Springs Food Pantry to assist their community. The lodge also maintains an ongoing collection bin for the food pantry in which members and guests have generously donated upward of 300 pounds of food over the last several months. Pictured are Gene Rittenhouse, Northeast District Deputy; Cheryl Royal, Lecturing Knight; Nancy and Gale Klopenstein, food pantry volunteers and lodge members; Linda Rittenhouse, FLOE President; and Monica Padgett, lodge member.
Jacksonville Elks Lodge #221 held another joint shredding event and food drive Nov. 14 to benefit Feeding Northeast Florida, an organization in Jacksonville that helps local children and families, seniors, and active and retired military members who struggle to put food on the table, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. The lodge received a donation to pay for the shredding truck to be on hand at the food drive to draw attention and entice the community to drop off documents to be shredded in exchange for a donation of nonperishable food. Including lodge members’ recent food donations, the total after this event amounted to 628 pounds of food which is enough for 525 meals. Pictured are William Watson, Exalted Ruler; Pat Harth and Kathy Glass, members; and Robin Pipkins, Elks National Foundation Lodge Project Coordinator.
Mandarin-St. Johns Elks Lodge #2866 has been supporting their local community through several collection projects. The lodge has partnered with a group from Jacksonville, Florida, called The Rippers, a group of local women who use their love of sewing for community needs. They are turning donated jeans into backpacks for students who are homeless. Lodge members have donated approximately 30 pairs of jeans for this project. The partnership was formed after a lodge member read about them in a neighborhood newspaper. The lodge is also continuing its tradition of collecting travel-sized toiletries which are then donated to the City Rescue Mission in Jacksonville. The City Rescue Mission provides food, clothing, shelter, emergency services, and residential recovery to those who are homeless. Lodge members have donated approximately 100 travel-sized toiletries. Pictured at the lodge’s collection station are Paul Orvosh, PDD, Lodge Advisor; Christie Easton, Lodge Secretary; and Diane Thompson, Loyal Knight.
On Sept. 5, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 showed appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the Green Cove Springs Police Department by donating two dozen boxes of cookies and other treats. Pictured are Ed Weston, Exalted Ruler; Gene Rittenhouse, District Deputy; Cheryl Royal, Lecturing Knight; Linda Rittenhouse, FLOE Vice President; Tracy Carroll, PER, Esquire; Lucie Barnette, PER, Trustee; Cathy Sanders, member; Officer Renay Henderson; and Sergeant Barb Luedtke.
The members of Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 donated $1,000 to Charles E. Bennett Elementary School and presented it to Dr. Cagle, principal, Sept. 9 at the lodge. The donation will be used to provide teachers and students with school supplies.
On June 17, Mandarin-St. Johns Elks Lodge #2866 used its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to donate a large refrigerator to the Mandarin Food Bank in Jacksonville, Florida. The refrigerator was $1,976 and the remaining $24 was donated to the food bank. Pictured are Bonnie McNulty, food bank director; Christie Easton, Lodge Secretary; Ken Kamiski, volunteer inventory manager; and Steve Easton, Exalted Ruler.
On May 21, Green Cove Springs Lodge donated $1,000 from the lodge PER/charity bingo fund on behalf of lodge members to the Green Cove Springs Food Pantry. Cheryl Royal, Lecturing Knight, is pictured presenting the check to food pantry volunteer Wynema Lovell. Throughout May and June, lodge members have brought nonperishable food to the lodge and members Gale and Nancy Klopfenstein, who are also volunteers at the food pantry, have helped coordinate and deliver the items each week to the food pantry. Pictured organizing food donations at the lodge are members Gale Klopfenstein, Patsy Weston and Nancy Klopfenstein.
On April 30, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 donated more than 100 boxes of cereal bars to Charles E. Bennett Elementary School to help supplement their take-home lunch program for students that has been instituted during the pandemic. Pictured are Mary Bolla, member and local school board member; Dr. Sheree Cagle, principal; Tracy Carroll, PER; Gene Rittenhouse, District Vice President; Ed Weston, Exalted Ruler; and Marcia Mainer, assistant principal.
990 Waldo Gainesville Elks Lodge #990 helped with the transport of food from the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank to the City of Waldo. The initial goal was to be able to offer enough food to feed over 50 families. The lodge helped every Wednesday for four weeks, and now it has changed to once a month. Pictured April 22 are Breed Jumpp, president of the Gainesville Elks Riders 990; Linda Califf, Lodge Secretary; and Gary Parker, lodge member and Parker Pest Control. Additional members not pictured are Saudia Bradley and Rita Puentez, coordinator of this event. The following is a thank-you letter received by the lodge from the mayor of Waldo dated April 28.
As the Mayor of Waldo, I would really like to thank you and your lodge members for your help with feeding Waldo. As you may or may not know Waldo does not have a food bank, so our residents must go to Gainesville or Starke to get food. Many residents do not have the ability to do that. This has been a huge blessing for the City of Waldo, and we are grateful for your role in that giveaway.
You all have made a difference in Waldo and for that we thank you!
Louie Davis, Mayor
Because there was a surplus after the lodge delivered the food from the Bread of the Mighty to the City of Waldo, they donated the extra food to the St. Francis House, a homeless shelter in Gainesville. Pictured April 22 at the lodge is member Saudia Bradley loading food to deliver to the St. Francis House in Gainesville. The lodge members have been anxious to reach out and help their community in these times of need.
During the month of February, Green Cove Springs Lodge held their annual Comfort Campaign in support of the local law enforcement. Thanks to generous members and guests, the lodge donated 140 stuffed animals to the Green Cove Springs Police and Clay County Sheriff's departments. These stuffed toys will be distributed by law enforcement to provide comfort to the children they encounter on their calls. Members of both agencies were guests for breakfast at the lodge Feb. 29. Pictured preparing the donations are Kathy Hughson, spouse; Ed Weston, Exalted Ruler; Emily Hughson, volunteer; Greg Hughson, PDD; Diane Watson, Secretary; Patsy Weston, entertainment committee member; and Tracy Carroll, PER. Pictured at the breakfast are Ed Weston, Exalted Ruler; Deputy Matthews; Deputy Freshour; Izzy Hughson and Emily Hughson, volunteers; Sheriff Daniels; Tracy Carroll, PER; Officer Babcock; Sergeant Hess; and Officer Camp.