On March 21, Englewood Lodge donated $1,750 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the Peace River Search and Rescue organization.
Pictured are Debbie Maki and Apollo from Peace River; Pam VanTilburg, PER, Exalted Ruler; and Marie Aquilina and Beamer from Peace River.
On March 21, Englewood Lodge donated $1,750 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the K-9 unit of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department. Pictured is PamVanTilburg, PER, Exalted Ruler, presenting the check to Officer Chris of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit and his dog, Kye.
Englewood Elks Lodge #2378 has a very active Friday night charity bingo program with more than 100 participants each week. From this program, the lodge made $1,000 donations in January to each of the following local charities: Kids Needs, Englewood Helping Hand, Project Phoenix, Suncoast Humane Society and St. David’s Episcopal Church jubilee. The bingo committee works tirelessly to make this program a success.
Rotonda Elks Lodge #2710 hosted a first responders appreciation luncheon Jan. 29 at the lodge. Invitations were sent to their local sheriff and firefighters to recognize them for risking their lives to make life safe for everyone. Elkettes Jenny Perry and Barbara Kelley delivered meals to the stations for first responders who were unable to attend.
The pictured deputies are Nicole Kovalsky, Bryant Ekstrom and John Kranz. Behind them are lodge members Kathy Dardis, volunteer coordinator; Roger Redman, PER; Jean Humphreys, Exalted Ruler; and Gerry Chesney.
On Jan. 30, Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 held a charity event for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors firefighter Stephen Siller who gave his life to save others Sept. 11, 2001. The foundation also honors Gold Star families, first responders who have sacrificed their lives, and injured first responders and military members incurring physical disabilities, needing “smart homes.” This foundation delivers 95% of all dollars to the beneficiaries. The event raised approximately $1,200.
Pictured in the kitchen are Darrel Martin and Scott Phillips, Leading Knight.
The Deep Creek Ladies of the Elks supported Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County by donating Christmas presents for 225 children. Most of the members took at least two or three nametags of children and shopped for them. The gifts were picked up Dec. 16 at the lodge and will be distributed by the organizations.
In 2021, Punta Gorda Lodge partnered with OneBlood and held six blood drives coordinated by Ambrose Yelovich, PER, lodge chaplain, who happens to be a 25 gallon, 2 pint super donor. The drives garnered 134 units of blood, which can save 402 lives. There were 226 volunteer hours donated at a value of $5,455.64 and 3,080 volunteer miles traveled at a value of $1,694. In honor of this milestone, OneBlood presented a certificate of appreciation for all the lodge donors, accepted by Yelovich.
On Nov. 2, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 donated $1,000 from its Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant to the Jesus Loves You Ministry mobile outreach program for those experiencing homelessness. The program delivers meals, clothing and portable showers into the homeless community. Pictured are Walter LaCombe, Exalted Ruler; Ashley Brantley, Jesus Loves You Ministry social services director; and Ambrose Yelovich, lodge chaplain.
On August 3rd, members of Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 took eight children from the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition shopping. Each child received school clothing, shoes, backpacks and school supplies. This was accomplished with $1,600 from the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant. Assisting with the shopping were Peggie Sue Dygert, Loyal Knight; Cheri Usowicz, Tiler; Kay Neilley, PDD, treasurer; Carol Aitchison, Lecturing Knight; Officer Lou Henycz, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office and lodge member; Bill Flecken, PER, lodge trustee, and his wife, Kathleen; Linda Bass, wife of Truman Bass; and Truman Bass, PDD, Exalted Ruler.
Deep Creek Elks Lodge #2763 donated $2,250 from its charity fund to the Charlotte Warriors football and cheerleading program in Charlotte County, Florida. Of this, $1,500 was given to the Charlotte Warriors Pop Warner football program to help pay for equipment and to help the children who cannot afford to pay the participation fee, $250 was given to the Charlotte Warriors cheerleaders to help purchase uniforms and to help pay participation fees, and $500 was given to replace the press box, which was destroyed during Hurricane Charlie. They have been using a cargo shipping box for a press box. To thank the lodge for their gracious donation, the Charlotte Warriors football team and cheerleaders presented them with a banner, which will be displayed at all home games. There is also large plaque on the new press box noting Deep Creek Elks Lodge as a supporter. Pictured Sept. 4 at the football stadium in Carmalita Park in Punta Gorda, Florida, are Truman Bass, PDD, Exalted Ruler, and Carlos Mercedes, Isabella Rochow, John McCullough and Gavin Ellis.
On Aug. 24, Fort Myers Lodge members David Lake, PSP and Roger Spencer, Exalted Ruler, presented 100 comfort pillows and five crocheted baby blankets to Michelle Leonard of the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida at their offices. This organization is the private, nonprofit lead agency that administers the child welfare system in five southwest Florida counties. Their mission is to work with the community to protect children and preserve families. Charity Works donated the pillows to the Florida State Elks Association to be distributed to children in need. The blankets were made and donated by Gail Mascari, a lodge member and a past President of the lodge’s Ladies of Elks organization.
At the lodge Christmas-in-July dinner July 24, Fort Myers Elks Lodge #1288 presented a check for $2,000 from the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant along with $120 collected that night to the Children's Network of Southwest Florida. In addition to the monetary donations, during the month of July, members and guests placed packages of diapers and baby wipes under the Christmas tree in the lodge to present to the organization. The Children's Network is the private and nonprofit lead agency that administers the child welfare system in five southwest Florida counties. Pictured are Michelle Leonard, executive assistant to the CEO and human resources liaison, and Roger Spencer, Exalted Ruler, holding one of the many donated packages of diapers.