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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Jack McClurken

Viera Lodge Sponsors Four Children to a Week at Camp Hope

Viera Elks Lodge #2817 is continuing its support of Genesis House, a facility which provides transitional shelter for women who are homeless and their children, long-term housing for student mothers and their children, and shelter for pregnant women who are homeless and their children. Genesis House helps women become independent through education, self-discipline and self-reliance. The lodge supports this organization with their Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. The lodge provided $200 to fund four children’s week at Camp Hope’s Christmas Camp. This program help families like those living at Genesis House with affordable child care during school breaks. Camp Hope provides at-risk children with a fun, safe and enriching place to spend time during breaks so parents don’t have to choose between their children and their jobs.


Fort Pierce Lodge Gives 10 Schools a Merry Christmas

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After seven months of planning, Fort Pierce Elks Lodge #1520 undertook the Operation 2019 Christmas backpack program at St. Lucie Public Schools including Lakewood Park Elementary School in Fort Pierce, Fla., where a local news station took video. The lodge used funds from the $10,000 Elks National Foundation Impact Grant, backpack lodge funds, and lodge member donations to buy food, new toys, school clothes, hygiene kits, snacks, Christmas candy, and more for hundreds of children who attend St. Lucie Public Schools and their families who are homeless. More than 30 Elks spent Dec. 8 sorting and packing thousands of items. St. Lucie Public Schools assisted by having two large school trucks pick up the 10 pallets loaded with holiday donations. The delivery was Dec 11. They also presented $100 checks to 10 schools to buy school logo shirts for students who helped other students during the holiday season. The Elks backpack program started by helping a few kids each weekend and six years later they are helping more than 300 kids with food items every weekend. This was their largest Christmas event with more than 1,000 kids helped. The program has 35-40 volunteers and many of them have helped since the program’s beginning, an integral reason for the program's growing success. All grants and donations go toward the program.


Melbourne Elks Provide 200 Thanksgiving Dinners

Melbourne Elks Lodge #1744 used the $5,000 from their Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and the matching funds from the Florida State Elks Association to put together 200 Thanksgiving grocery packages that included a 12-15 pound turkey, green beans, mushroom soup, fried onion rings, corn, rice, five pounds of potatoes, stuffing, popcorn, Jello, gravy and cranberry sauce. The groceries were given to families whose children attend one of five area schools who might not have had a good Thanksgiving if not for the Elks.


Port St. Lucie Lodge Riders Donate for Hurricane Dorian Relief

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On Oct. 12, the Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge motorcycle riders club put together over three pallets of goods and veterinary items for the Hurricane Dorian relief fundraiser. The donations were raised through their breakfast fundraiser, from lodge member donations and from themselves. Sheriff Ken Mascara was their police escort to the airport where Missionary Flights International is hangered. Exalted Ruler, Lynn Tripoli, was also present as they unloaded their truck and trailer full of goods and loaded them onto pallets that were then loaded onto a plane bound later that day to The Bahamas. Pete Jordan, president of the club, said, “It’s nice to see how people pull together to help one another in the time of need. It feels good to be a part of the fundraising for those distressed families. Hurricane Dorian was right off our Florida coast and just several miles away from our lodge and homes. That could have just as well been us in dire need of food and water. So being Elks, we care, we share and were there.”

Pictured are Jim and Nelly Devery; Lynn Tripoli, Exalted Ruler; Rick Rubinstein; Sheriff Ken Mascara; Pete Jordan, president; Dave Hedgcock; Larry Kristensen; Dan Shipco; Tom Randazzo, vice president; Denise Kristensen; Jill Randazzo; and Teresa Shipco. The photo was taken by Alex Jordan. Not pictured are Gina Jordan, treasurer; Mario and Vivian Orduz; Margie Hedgcock; and Jeanne Rubinstein. The entire club was instrumental in making this happen. Work and other priorities kept these members from attending the event but they were ever so much a part of this venture.


Viera Lodge Member Shaves Head and Raises $500 for First Responders

On Sept. 14, Viera Lodge member Billy Wirth, PER who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma offered to have his head shaved at the district visitation held at Stuart-Jensen Lodge. Wirth was beginning treatment the following week for the disease and wanted to have something positive to come from this dreadful situation. Having been a past first responder and having befriended District Vice President Sal Lentine before his untimely death, he wanted to have the proceeds of $500 go to the Elks’ first responder's fund in Lentine's name.


Vero Beach Elks Help Vero Beach Elementary Earn Award

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Vero Beach Elementary was awarded a Positive Behavior Intervention Specialist Award in association with the University of South Florida for 2018-2019 for being a model school for positive behavior. Vero Beach Elks Lodge has been a very important part of their success. Using their Elks National Foundation Impact Grant, the lodge continues its Elks store at the school, “Elks Love Kids of Character”, awarding children for their good deeds during the school year.

They also provide funds to the school to purchase uniforms for students who are homeless. In addition to funding, the Elks give their time; their presence at the school shows the students that their community cares about them.

Vero Beach Lodge Exalted Ruler, Paul Diaz, PER.; Pat Diaz; and June Maher, PER delivered school supplies to Vero Beach Elementary Aug. 8.


Vero Beach Elks Provide Dictionaries to Third Grade Students

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Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 is supplying 1,300 dictionaries to 13 schools' third grade students in the Vero Beach, Fla., area. From kindergarten through the beginning of third grade, students are learning to read. From the third grade onward, students are reading to learn. The distributed dictionaries contain multiplication tables, braille, sign language, history, geography and much more. A large percentage of these students do not have the luxury of a computer or handheld phones at their disposal, so these dictionaries are a vital learning tool for them and are theirs to keep throughout the school year, take home at the end of third grade and use in later school years. This is the third year the Vero Beach Elks have done this project.

Pictured Sept. 17 with Elroy the Elk (Jack Houlihan, PDD) is the third grade class of Ms. Glaser at Oslo Magnet School in Vero Beach, Fla., recipients of dictionaries from Vero Beach Lodge.


Cocoa Beach Elks Donate Gratitude Grant to High School Groups and Teams

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On Sept. 10 at Cocoa Beach Elks Lodge #2387, members presented their $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to the Cocoa Beach High School sports teams and ROTC to purchase new equipment as well as uniforms. Exalted Ruler, Ed Ciecirski, is shown with representatives from CBHS Army JROTC, boys and girls soccer, wrestling, girls volleyball, boys basketball, Project Graduation, boys and girls lacrosse, and Key Club.


Viera Lodge uses ENF Beacon Grant to Support Genesis House

Viera Elks Lodge #2817 is continuing its support of Genesis House Inc., a facility that provides transitional shelter for homeless women and their children, long-term housing for student mothers and their children, and shelter for homeless pregnant women and their children. Genesis House is committed to providing a safe, supportive and caring environment which promotes independence from the welfare system through education, self-discipline and self-reliance. Funding for Genesis House is provided by an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant.


Port St. Lucie Lodge Delivers Food to Local Elementary School

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Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge #2658 delivered food to Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to help provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for the students through the GracePak Program. The lodge delivers approximately 250 lbs. of food on a monthly basis. The Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and donations from the members of the lodge keep these children from worrying about their food insecurities with these nourishing meals.

Pinky Stein, widow; Amy Hitlatch, a nonmember friend of Stein; and PER Carol Raymond, Port St. Lucie Lodge Secretary, deliver food to Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie, Fla.


Vero Beach Elks Support Sunday Strong

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On June 2, Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 donated $500 to Sunday Strong for the purchase of team T-shirts featuring the lodge logo on the sleeve. Sunday Strong is a Vero Beach-based organization that unites the fitness industry and adult athletes with intellectual disabilities by working with fitness facilities to provide one group class per week for these athletes at no charge to them. Pictured in the back row at the donation presentation with the Sunday Strong athletes are Richard Miller, Vero Beach Lodge Esteemed Leading Knight (third from left); Laura Radocaj, Sunday Strong founder and president (fifth from left); and Paul Diaz, Exalted Ruler (seventh from left).


Fort Pierce Lodge's Backpack Program Acknowledged at Board Meeting

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On Jan. 8, Lenny Smallacombe and his wife, Barb, attended the St. Lucie Public Schools board meeting. At the meeting, the good works of the Fort Pierce Elks’ backpack program were shared with the board and everyone in attendance. Smallacombe later accepted a special appreciation award from Superintendent E. Wayne Gent and board members on behalf of all the dedicated team members of the backpack program and on behalf of all those who donate to the program. Pictured are Katherine Hensley, Vice Chairman; Carol A. Hilson; Debbie Hawley, Chairman; Dr. Donna Mills; Troy Ingersoll; Superintendent E. Wayne Gent; and Lenny & Barb Smallacombe. The program utilizes an Elks National Foundation community grant which helps Fort Pierce Elks Lodge make a difference in children’s lives in their community.


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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2018 by the
Florida State Elks Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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