On Aug. 10, Punta Gorda Lodge hosted one of its regular blood drives. The One Blood organization donated a blood drive T-shirt and a $20 gift card to donors. In addition, the lodge donated an Elks Lodge logo T-shirt and a $10 gift certificate to each donor. Members donated 25 pints. Because one pint can save three lives, this drive will help save 75 lives.
During the summer, Naples Elks Lodge #2010 partnered with Our Daily Bread Food Pantry on Marco Island in Florida. The lodge donated its $2,000 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to them, which was used to supplement any food products that were needed to complete the weekly provision packages. Beginning July 15, the lodge’s youth Antlers group provided volunteers to help on-site multiple days during the hot summer. The Antlers completed whatever tasks they were given, from stacking pantry shelves to scrubbing carts in preparation for the more than 700 families the facility provides food to every Saturday. They proudly wore their Naples Antler shirts and a smile every day they were there.
Pictured are Mike Cory and George Rogers, pantry volunteers; Nancy and Ron McClay, pantry managers; Jeff Hultgren and Matt Basler, pantry volunteers; Lucy Reid, Jacob Schmidt, and Christophe Savoie, Antlers members; and Mike Adamski, PER. Also pictured are the Antlers working with pantry volunteers inside the facility.
On July 27, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 presented a check for $150 to the Punta Gorda Fire Department for its Fire Safety and Injury Prevention Program. This donation will provide fire safety education materials for 50 children in the community. By teaching children fire safety and burn prevention awareness, tragic fire losses and deaths can be prevented.
Pictured are Charlie Moores, Loyal Knight, and J. Tyler Canfield, PGFD operations chief.
On May 19, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 presented scholarships totaling $21,000 to Charlotte High School seniors at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Florida. The lodge donated $15,000, the Elkettes donated $4,000 and the PER Association donated $2,000. There were two $2,000 scholarships and 17 $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships were presented by Elkettes members Judy Schall and Carole Milroy.
On June 10, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 hosted a children’s fishing tournament on their long pier in the Charlotte County community. There were 181 children participating with 58 members volunteering their time to register children, cut bait, untangle lines, prepare and serve lunch, take photos, and award prizes. The children competed by age — 2-5, 6-10 and 11-14 — and received medals in each category for first fish caught, longest fish, most fish and most unusual fish. A 5-year-old received a trophy for the most fish caught overall, two. The children and parents were treated to a picnic lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, watermelon and juice boxes. Each child also received their own fishing rod to keep and a backpack that included tackle/lures, a visor, lip balm, coloring book, sunscreen and sunglasses. The event was sponsored by Fishing Franks, who provided rods and tackle at cost; Punta Gorda Isles Fishing Club members Rick Sanders and Mike White, who solicited donations for additional rods and tackle; the Elkettes, who donated $1,500; and the Lodge PER Association, which donated $1,000. The variety of fish caught in the Peace River were redfish, stingray, red snapper, catfish, mango snapper, spadefish and toadfish.
Pictured are kids fishing on the pier and Tom Shoecraft, Exalted Ruler.
On July 5, David Santini, vice president of Hearts and Homes for Veterans Inc., presented a plaque to Fort Myers Elks Lodge #1288 for its generous contributions to Hearts and Homes over the past five years. The plaque thanks the lodge for their continuous support of their mission of "Veterans Helping Veterans." Fort Myers Elks has donated more than $30,000 to Hearts and Homes from both its Elks National Foundation grants and its charity account. Pictured is David Santini, Hearts and Homes for Veterans vice president, presenting the plaque to John Beckett, Exalted Ruler.
On June 15, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 hosted a blood drive with One Blood, organized by Ambrose Yelovich, PER, chaplain, who has achieved super donor status. At this event, 20 members each donated a pint of blood. One pint saves three lives, so this day equated to 60 lives eventually being saved.
Pictured are Lori O'Brien, One Blood account representative, and super donors Patricia Donovan (7 gallons, 1 pint), Douglas Donovan (8 gallons, 1 pint) and Ambrose Yelovich, PER (26 gallons, 7 pints).
Fort Myers Lodge held its Flag Day ceremony June 10, with the Vietnam Brotherhood Bravo Unit displaying the history of the American flag, showcasing eight versions. In gratitude for their participation in the ceremony, officers presented a $500 donation to the brotherhood for their scholarship program. pictured are the unit showcasing the flags. Also pictured is trustee Richard Conley, PDD presenting the donation to the commander of the unit.
On May 23, Greater Pine Island Lodge purchased 30 STOP THE BLEED® kits for Pine Island Elementary School using $800 from its charitable trust. STOP THE BLEED® encourages teachers to be trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. STOP THE BLEED® is one of the nation’s largest public health campaigns. Its goal is to save lives by training people across the country how to stop traumatic bleeding. Pictured are Corporal Wilfred Rivera, school safety officer; Judy Hopkins, PER, Exalted Ruler; Jack Rovaldi, PER; Everett Goodwin III, PER; and Dr. Tom Millins, principal.
On May 6, Greater Pine Island Lodge funded a shredding event for islanders to bring their documents to be shredded, and in return, monetary donations could be made to Pine Island Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT), an after-school program that directly meets the Elks National Foundation’s mission of building stronger communities by investing in youth programs that improve the quality of life in the community. PILOT is a free after-school enrichment program offered at Pine Island United Methodist Church. Its mission is to challenge the hearts and minds of Pine Island youth to encourage growth and excellence in vital areas such as critical thinking, responsibility, group dynamics and community involvement. Second through fifth grade students at Pine Island Elementary School are recommended by their teachers to take part in the program. Once students begin participating, the purpose is for them to remain in the program through high school graduation. Transportation and dinner are also provided at no cost to students. The lodge has sponsored the shredding event for the last three years. The Pine Island Food Pantry had been the recipient of the donations, but this year the lodge decided to support another Elks National Foundation grant recipient.
Pictured are students from PILOT at the shredding event. Also pictured are Tracy Carpenter, Lecturing Knight, and member Susan Chura.
On March 26, Fort Myers Ladies of Elks held a fashion show featuring fashions from the North Fort Myers Hope Chest Resale Store. Proceeds were evenly divided between Hope Chest and the Fort Myers Elks building fund. Proceeds from Hope Chest help to provide comforting, compassionate care for those with serious illness, as well as their families.
Pictured are Kathy Lake, Ladies President, presenting a check for $487 to Jane Davis from Hope Chest. Ladies members Irma Spencer and Vicki Carter are also pictured.
Peggie Sue Dygert, Exalted Ruler of Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763, points to her lodge’s name at the top of the donor banner displayed at the Florida Elks Charities Unmasking Autism Gala in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 22. The lodge raised the largest amount for selling hearts for the Heartbeat Campaign in support of the gala. The lodge worked to sell the hearts to members and their guests. They started right after Christmas with an autism heart tree, which became filled with purchased hearts, but they continued collecting donations.