On Feb. 29, Key West Elks Lodge #551 brought residents of the Key West Convalescent Center together for music, food and beverages to celebrate Leap Year. Lodge Esquire, Fredy Varela, prepared the Cuban mixed sandwiches. They had a great time including their staff. The residents enjoyed the familiar sounds of music from the 1950s and 1960s. The lodge also provided a teddy bear to each of the 75 attendees. Pictured are Natalie Castaldo, Lodge Secretary; Burnette Hardin, volunteer; Elizabeth Ignoffo, Inner Guard; Mary Wheeler, Exalted Ruler; Bob Reber, volunteer; and Helen Garcia, South District Deputy.
Miami Elks Lodge #948 adopted six families in need in the Miami area this holiday season and treated them to a Christmas party at the lodge Dec. 14 as part of a Neighbors Helping Neighbors campaign. Along with the lodge’s $1,500 set aside for this event, additional funds were received from South Dade Lighting, a showroom in Miami. On Dec. 2, they donated $2,600 to the lodge after a member informed them of all the charitable things the Elks do for children and veterans. Many times, lodge members give donations of money or food if the lodge doesn’t have enough money, but that wasn’t necessary this year thanks to this gift. The business collected money from customers by giving them a discount and they let them know that this extra discount would be given to the Elks. The lodge gave the children in each family presents and the families received Publix gift cards. Frankie’s Pizza owned by lodge members donated pizzas at half price for the party. Members made brownies and bought Christmas cookies. The invited families were suggested by Dade County social workers who deemed them the most needy. In the past, the lodge had a Christmas party for members’ children, but they made the decision to host this party for these families instead who otherwise would not have had a Christmas.
Pictured are Maria Mila, general manager of South Dade Lighting; Nancy Carr, chairman of Miami Lodge’s board; Frank Reynolds, Exalted Ruler; and Don Elliott, president of South Dade Lighting, as the business presents Miami Lodge with $2,600 to use for their six adopted families this holiday season.
On Dec. 14, Florida Keys Lodge had their children’s Christmas party. The Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant makes this possible every year. Each year the event gets better with decorating cookies, playing games, crafting, a magic show, pictures with Santa and lunch. There were approximately 80 kids as well as the parents attending. Coral Shores High School students volunteered their time as did lodge members.
Magician Michael Trixx is pictured with Julia Baizs during the lodge’s children’s Christmas party Dec. 14.
Thanks to the Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, Florida Keys Lodge presented a check for $2,000 Dec. 12 at the lodge to Coral Shores High School for their fund for students in need. This fund was created to help purchase items needed for students such as eyeglasses, shoes, and graduation and prom attire. Pictured are school representatives Anna Alvaro and Kristy Bedell accepting the check from Exalted Ruler, Denny Tarbell.
Using some of their Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant funds, Florida Keys Elks Lodge #1872 spent Dec. 10 celebrating Christmas with clients from MARC. According to marchouse.org, “The Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens is a non-profit agency that serves adult clients within Monroe County who have developmental disabilities that include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Prader-Willi Syndrome, and traumatic brain injury sustained prior to age 18.” Santa (Tim Hartnett) gave gifts, Christmas carols were sung and there was music for dancing. A luncheon of ham, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and dessert was served.
On Oct. 14, South Miami/Coral Gables Elks Lodge #1676 presented a $2,500 check to Neighbors 4 Neighbors (N4N) for the Hurricane Dorian relief fund at CBS 4 WFOR Television in Miami. The lodge raised this money through a benefit concert held Sept. 29 at the lodge.
Pictured are Keni Garcia, N4N; Jim Glolowski, 5-year trustee; Katy Meagher, N4N; Reggie Hernandez, Exalted Ruler; Debbie Budde, Lecturing Knight; Lynne Cameron, Executive Director of N4N; and Tim Brockland, Slippery Tim & Friends.
On June 23, Miami Elks Lodge #948 members PDD Jeff Muehlfeld, Patricia Borsuk, Carol Haber and Julia Weber chaperoned 50 kids to the Florida Elks Youth Camp for a week of fun and an experience of a lifetime. Ten kids were from Florida Keys Lodge #1872, six kids were from Marathon Lodge #2139 and 34 kids were from Miami Lodge #948. Miami Lodge allocated $3,500 for the bus, snacks, water, juice and chaperone expenses. On June 28, Jeff Muehlfeld, Jennie Wright and Carol Haber went back to the camp to chaperone the kids home June 29.
Miami Lodge members Carol Haber (middle left in blue and yellow shirt) and Julia Weber (far right) are pictured with campers from the South District they chaperoned to and from the Florida Elks Youth Camp for their week of camp June 23-28.
On June 14, the Flag Day ceremony and retirement of flags was held at Florida Keys Lodge. Boy Scout Troop 912 assisted and received a donation from a local businessman, Robby Majeska, of $1 for every flag retired for a total of $264. The lodge served lunch to all attendees.
Florida Keys Elks Lodge #1872 held their seventh annual ladies dolphin fishing tournament June 7-8. This always proves to be the lodge’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The event had 31 boats and 76 anglers participating. The junior winner was Brianna Sullivan and the two women who won first place were Candace Everett and Tiffany Vega. This tournament requires months of planning and many volunteers which raises several thousand dollars for the lodge charity fund.
Florida Keys Lodge held a food drive for the students at Coral Shores High School and also provided a check to Voices for Children of the Florida Keys for $1,500. Voices for Children of the Florida Keys is a guardian ad litem program that benefits children in the court system including children who are in foster care, children who have been neglected and children who are in the adoption process. Monroe County has approximately 325 in the program. The donation will help pay for extras that the government does not cover such as school field trips and prom gowns.
Florida Keys Lodge participated in the large annual Nautical Flea Market in the upper Keys. The Rotary provides a free booth to all charitable organizations and the lodge used the opportunity to promote their upcoming annual ladies dolphin fishing tournament June 7-8 which benefits various charities. All members wore Elks T-shirts and sold tickets for the raffle item which will be drawn during the tournament. Lodge members also distributed information about Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp and handed out membership applications. There were several thousand people in attendance for the two-day event.
On March 2, Florida Keys Lodge held their biggest fundraiser for the quarter with a Blues Brothers theme spearheaded by member Joyce Musselman. There were 265 tickets sold. Fifteen students from Coral Shores High School helped serve dinner and dessert at the event to earn some of their community service requirements. The lodge made $9,083 for various charities including scholarships, veterans, the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.