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.
Using $1,000 raised at the annual Super Bowl Party Feb. 2 along with items donated by members, Vero Beach Lodge packed welcome boxes for The Hope for Families Center and The Samaritan Center of Vero Beach. The Hope for Families Center uses education, rules, training and requirements to build the foundation for long-term independence to teach families that are homeless the habits and routines necessary to sustain themselves. The center provides housing as well as a structured program that teaches families how to set expectations. The Samaritan Center provides affordable, supportive, transitional housing and support services to those who are homeless or who are close to homelessness.
On Jan. 28, Vero Beach Elks Lodge presented 29 stop-the-bleed kits, one for each area school, to the Indian River County School Board’s new superintendent, Dr. David Moore. The $2,247 used for this project came from the kids’ charities account. Shown are Richard Campbell, Esteemed Loyal Knight; Paul Diaz, Exalted Ruler; Dr. Moore; and Richard Miller, Esteemed Leading Knight and Community Activities Chair.
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.
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.