Port St. Lucie Elks Lodge #2658 donated $5,500 from its Elks National Foundation grants ($3,500 from the Beacon Grant and $2,000 from the Spotlight Grant) to Grace Packs Inc. of Port St. Lucie, Florida. “The mission and joy of Grace Packs Inc. is to provide weekly weekend food for students who lack an ample food supply, relieving the burden many of these children endure by being hungry. Currently, Feeding America statistics reveal that currently the projected child food insecurity rate for St. Lucie County is 28% (Research is based on Map the Meal Gap 2020 and is supported by Conagra Brands Foundation and Nielsen),” says Laura Klosterman, director of Grace Packs Inc. She adds that this donation will help to provide weekend meals to at least 1,100 children. The organization is currently serving packs to 32 schools in St. Lucie County. Pictured Nov. 13 at the pantry are Klosterman; Dawn Tortoriello, Exalted Ruler; April Barth, Grace Packs lodge coordinator; and Rick Barth, PER.
Vero Beach Elks Lodge #1774 and the Vietnam Veterans of Indian River County held the 10th annual car show on the lodge grounds Aug. 22 with 113 classic, antique, muscle and special-interest cars. All cars were spaced out due to the pandemic with masks required. The lodge raised $4,000 from registrations, a raffle, a 50/50, donations and sponsor contributions. Eleven trophies were awarded. Monies raised went to the lodge’s veterans fund and for veterans assistance programs and housing which are utilized throughout the year.
On Aug. 26, Viera Elks Lodge #2817 presented an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Family Promise of Brevard, an organization that collaborates with the community to provide families who are homeless with the support and resources they need to put themselves on a path toward long-term housing. The AED will be used in their resource center and offices. Pictured not wearing their face masks just for the picture are Mark Sexton, director of programs of Family Promise; Jane Higgins, outreach specialist of Family Promise; William Orblych, PDD; Wendy Carns, PER; and Tara Pagliarini, executive director of Family Promise.
Viera Elks Lodge #2817 continued their support of Genesis House, a facility in Melbourne, Florida, which provides transitional shelter for women and their children who are homeless, long-term housing for student mothers and their children, and shelter for pregnant women and their children who are homeless. Funding for Genesis House support is provided by an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. On March 21, the lodge provided them with a new document shredder. They also donated $825 for a mother and her child to attend parent-and-child therapy classes at the Florida Institute of Technology. These classes are still ongoing.
On March 23, Viera Lodge provided Family Promise of Brevard County a gift of $1,500 from an Elks National Foundation Promise Grant. Family Promise is an organization that collaborates with the community to provide families who are homeless with the support and resources they need to put themselves on a path toward long-term housing. They also provide emergency shelter, homeless prevention and stabilization services. The assistance was given when they were going to have to suspend their emergency housing program due to lack of funding.
Viera Lodge donated $1,000 from an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant March 22 to the Children’s Hunger Project, a community project which provides for children who are at risk and who depend on meals provided at school but who are now homebound. An additional $1,000 donation was made from the same grant May 13 as well.
On Jan. 28, $6,200 was given from the kids’ charities account to the Cal Ripken League for a new T-ball field in Vero Beach, Florida, which will be used to instruct 6-8-year-olds how to play baseball and to teach sportsmanship. Vero Beach Lodge held their annual Valentine’s Ball Feb. 8 and raised $1,564 to support Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and the Florida Elks Youth Camp. On March 6, a Neil Diamond tribute concert raised $3,000 for the Past Exalted Rulers scholarship program.