Pensacola Beach Lodge Raises Funds for Hurricane Michael Relief
Written by Don Padget
Recently, the Pensacola Beach Elks Lodge #497 Board of Directors challenged the 1,200 lodge members to raise funds to donate to Hurricane Michael relief by offering to match cash donations from the membership up to $3,000. As Exalted Ruler, Rick Reynolds, said, “Charity is the centerpiece of our work. Our members have helped in many ways, from volunteering to feed first responders to hosting a wedding for two evacuees who lost their home. We began collecting cash donations around the lodge and it didn’t take long for us to reach our goal. We knew the coast received the brunt of the storm and the media attention. We were also aware that areas north of the coast in the Panhandle were also greatly impacted but didn’t have the focus and support that areas along the water did.”
With that in mind, lodge trustee Phil Gambrell was charged with finding a charity that could quickly get the funds in the hands of those families and individuals most affected by the storm. Gambrell contacted Rodney Anderson, EMS Director in Jackson County, who highly recommended the Chipola Family Ministries in Marianna, Fla., that was doing a lot for the people of the surrounding communities to get back on their feet.
On Dec. 18, Gambrell presented a check from the lodge to Coba Beasley, Director of the Chipola Family Ministries. The total donation was over $6,000. Beasley said, “Initially, we will use some of the money to repair electrical service to homes, replace appliances and purchase roofing supplies to those who are in dire need of those items.”
It should be noted that New Lexington Elks Lodge #509 from Ohio gave $1,000 to Pensacola Beach Lodge to help with the relief effort. Such cooperation between lodges is very common as Elks across the U.S. practice their motto, “Elks Care – Elks Share.”
Pensacola Beach Lodge trustee Phil Gambrell, right, presents a check for over $6,000 to Coba Beasley, Director of Chipola Family Ministries, for Hurricane Michael relief.