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P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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A $1,000 check was presented by Richard Miller, Vero Beach Exalted Ruler, to Rey Navarro, Director of Village Operations for the Hibiscus Children’s Center, a facility that has saved and rescued the lives of children and teens who have been abused, since 1985.


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Melbourne Elks Lodge #1744 used its $3,500 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant combined with the $3,500 matching Florida State Elks Association grant and some additional funds ($7,054.05 in total) to provide 280 families from four area schools with groceries for the Thanksgiving holiday. Groceries were delivered to the schools by two Elks per school. Families arrived later in the day and stayed in their cars. Personnel at the school loaded the bags of groceries into the trunks to keep contact to a minimum. The lodge purchased turkeys that were 60% off and all other groceries were on sale as buy one-get one free. Groceries included a 13-15 pound turkey, five pounds of potatoes, two cans of green beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of French-fried onion rings, cranberry sauce, dressing, gravy, and bag of cookie mix. Pictured Nov. 19 during packing are an unidentifiable non-Elk helper; B.J. Black, PER; Sam Casella, PER; and Dolores Casella, PSP-FLOE. Elks not pictured are Cathy Underwood, PER; Tom Wojnar, Esquire; and Gerald Leman, grant coordinator.


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Fort Pierce Elks Lodge member Lenny Smallacombe, PDD, backpack program chair and lodge Elks National Foundation grants writer and coordinator, met several times with St. Lucie Public Schools officials to set up their largest Operation Christmas Backpack event yet — helping fill the needs of more than 1,050 children at 11 schools who are homeless. St. Lucie Public Schools dropped off 11 pallets to the lodge Dec. 11. Over the next two days, the backpack team sorted, boxed and loaded 11 pallets. On Dec. 14, two St. Lucie Public Schools trucks picked up all the pallets which held the backpacks, school clothes, kids’ hygiene kits, hand sanitizers, toys, Christmas gifts and snacks. This is their seventh year of the backpack program.


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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.


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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.