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Rachael King
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Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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2714 pam  2714 diane

On April 19, members from Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 attended the scholarship night at Sebastian River High School.

Pam Saracene, a member of the lodge and the ladies auxiliary, presented a total of $5,000 in scholarships to high school seniors on behalf of the lodge. There were four $1,000 scholarships, one $500 scholarship and two $250 scholarships.

Diane Lemire, also a member of the lodge and the ladies auxiliary, presented a $1,000 scholarship to a senior on behalf of the ladies auxiliary.


On March 5, State President Suzi Simonelli along with Paul Diaz, District Vice President, and a large delegation of Elks from around the state visited the “Elks Love Kids of Character” store at Vero Beach Elementary. Lodge volunteers, the principal, the guidance counselor and a few students participated in the program. Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 uses its Elks National Foundation Impact Grant to stock the store with supplies.  The purpose of the program is to encourage positive behavior among the students. Based on feedback from volunteers, teachers, parents and school staff, this program has been a great success.

For the first years, students earned tokens for positive behavior, such as kindness to others, helping teachers and staff, good grades, and good attendance, and they could turn those tokens in to shop in the school store for items such as school supplies, toiletries, toys and food. Many of the students at Vero Beach Elementary come from disadvantaged homes, so this opportunity is a great incentive for many of them. Since the pandemic, this program has changed significantly. The students now fill out order forms based on digital points received and store volunteers fill those orders on a weekly basis. The program has also been used in encouraging students to follow health guidelines, wearing masks and social distancing during the pandemic. This program operates every week of the year, excluding holidays and the summer.

The lodge has also purchased uniforms for students who are homeless or disadvantaged and volunteers have assembled toiletry bags for students who are homeless. They also put together treat bags for the school Halloween trunk-or-treat event and treat bags for graduating fifth graders after their first year living with the pandemic. Currently there are 10 program volunteers made up mostly of Elks and they have all been involved with the program for at least three years. Elk volunteers are Karen Guidry, program manager; Laura McFayden; Linda Colontrelle; Deb Stuller; Gail Boatwright; Bonnie Swanson and Don Guidry.


Viera Elks Lodge #2817 continued its support of local veterans by providing furniture to three veterans in January at a total of $450 and mattresses and bedding to six veterans in March at a total of $1,800. All donations were for veterans transitioning to permanent housing through the VOA/SSVF (Volunteers of America/Supportive Services for Veterans Families) Transitional Housing Program. The funds were provided by the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Focus Grant. In addition, the grant provided $215 to assist one veteran with an electric bill, $230 to assist two veterans with car repairs and $250 to assist one veteran with a rental deposit.


Viera Lodge held its 17th annual golf classic March 13, chaired again by member Karen Renzi. There were 79 participants, 33 hole sponsors and 17 boosters. Approximately $6,400 was raised for the lodge and its charities.


New Viera Lodge member Heidi Vargas hosted Salsa Night Feb. 5 with a Mexican buffet and salsa dance lessons. The event raised funds for a new charity for the lodge — the local chapter of Life Recaptured — an organization that supports those impacted by human trafficking. The donation amount was $700.