On Dec. 19, Palmetto Elks Lodge #2449 donated $2,500 from the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant’s Harry-Anna Trust Fund matching funds to the Mayors Feed the Hungry program.
Pictured are Barbara Nolan, Helen Sexton, Mayor Shirley Bryant, Steve Baker and Lorraine Baker.
On Dec. 2, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 collected more than 1,000 wrapped shoeboxes for Meals on Wheels PLUS, which were filled by lodge members and community businesses. The lodge also held a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels during this collection. Volunteers and staff of Meals on Wheels PLUS delivered the shoeboxes to seniors throughout the holidays.
Pictured are Jerry Ditty, PER, event chair; Brett Davis, PDD, Lodge Secretary; and Maribeth Phillips, Meals on Wheels PLUS CEO. Also pictured are some of the wrapped boxes.
On Dec. 9, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge held a Christmas party for the Miracle League team that the lodge sponsors. Lunch was provided for 40 people, including team members, family members and coaches. Team members received gifts from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Miracle League of Manasota provides opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to play baseball.
Attendees are pictured with Mr. and Mrs. Claus (Ron and Barbara Lee), seated, and Joanne DiCarlo, far right.
On Dec. 20, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge delivered trays of cookies to 10 area fire and rescue squads around Manatee County to thank first responders for their service.
Pictured are personnel from Station 6 along with lodge member Leon Duis, third from left. Not pictured is member Mary Duis.
Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 held its Hoop Shoot Dec. 6 at Carlos Haile Middle School in Bradenton. Eighteen kids competed and six lodge committee members conducted the event.
Committee members pictured with participants are Randy Volkart, Tony Lapera and Joe Valarie. Members not pictured are Bonnie Sietman, Bob Sietman, and Nancy Volkart.
On Nov. 18, Parrish Elks ran their first Hoop Shoot, held at New Hope Baptist Church, with seven young participants. The winners were Patrick Deery, first place boys 8-9; Alexis Kempker, first place girls 8-9; and Jaxen Jimenez, first place boys 10-11. Dave McCarthy, Lodge Hoop Shoot Chair, and his wife, Heather, ran the tournament.
South Hillsborough Elks Lodge #2672 hosted its Hoop Shoot Nov. 12 at the Spurlino Family YMCA. This contest was the first one after 2019, due to the pandemic. Trophies were awarded to the first, second and third place winners. All participants received were given an achievement certificate and a basketball-themed gift bag. The winners were Amylah Wilson, first place girls 8-9; Aumal Richardson, first place boys 8-9; Maddson Arroyo, first place girls 10-11; and Barry Griffis Jr., first place boys 10-11. They didn’t have any 12-13-year-olds, which will be a focus for next year. Tom and Lisa Anderson chaired the event. The YMCA director, Jarrod Williams, was excited about the Hoop Shoot Event because their objectives align perfectly with the Elks. The lodge recognized Coach Izabella Maxwell with flowers. She has coached children to compete in the Hoop Shoot for 17 of the past 20 years. She has been to regional and state competitions with her talented players and acknowledged that this was one of the best organized shoots she has attended.
Shown are Tom Anderson, Hoop Shoot Lodge Chair; Sugar Conrad, Exalted Ruler; Coach Izabella Maxwell; and Lisa Anderson, Hoop Shoot Lodge Chair.
On Oct. 10, members of the Southwest District and Elroy the Elk attended a Manatee County school board meeting to kick of Red Ribbon Week/Month. School board member Mary Foreman read their Red Ribbon proclamation, which was presented to PDD Jack Cantwell of Bradenton Lodge #1511. He thanked the board for their continued support of the program. During Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23-31, Manatee County teachers and district staff wore red ribbons donated by the Florida State Elks Association and the schools had numerous activities to promote this year’s theme, “Be Kind to Your Mind – Live Drug Free.” Manasota Lodge #2734 was also recognized for their continued partnership with the Manatee County School District throughout the year.
Pictured are Elroy the Elk (Dawn Gilchrist, Lakewood Ranch- Sarasota #2855); Diane Davis, trustee, Manasota #2734; Jack Cantwell, PDD, Bradenton #1511; and Deborah Perry-Gambino, School District of Manatee County community engagement specialist.
On Nov. 4, an appreciation lunch was held (this year at Bradenton Lodge) for the Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge volunteers who help to buy, pack and deliver food to area schools for the Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies program.
Members are pictured from both lodges, who partner to feed more than 600 children each weekend during the school year.
Bradenton Lodge also donated $1,500 to EFELT. Pictured are Danny Tabor, Bradenton #1511; Andrea Hitcho, EFELT CEO, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota #2855; and Paul Hollingsworth, Bradenton #1511.
Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495 invited students from Saint Mary Academy to the lodge Oct. 19 for a Red Ribbon Day picnic at the lodge’s outdoor Tiki area. Dee Pico-Keim, Lodge Drug Awareness Education Chair, gave a presentation about the origins of Red Ribbon Week and the dangers of illegal drugs and the abuse of prescription pills. They all played Red Ribbon bingo, which was also used as an educational resource. They then made posters using this year's theme and the Drug Awareness Education Committee judged the posters and gave out six prizes. Lunch consisted of burgers, hot dogs, chips and a beverage. They all received goody bags filled with sunglasses, frisbees, bracelets and more. The students took the pledge to be drug-free and were presented with certificates.
Pictured are the sixth, seventh and eighth graders holding their certificates, teachers and Drug Awareness Education Committee members.
On Sept. 11, South Hillsborough Elks Lodge #2672 donated $6,500 from its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to the United Methodist Church in Sun City, Florida, to help defray the cost of feeding underserved children. The church feeds between 70 and 75 children weekly and meals are provided to take home to their families.
Pictured are Pastor Richard Hasley; Grace Bibisi, PER, trustee; Rachel Ravencraft, Lecturing Knight and lodge grant coordinator; Bill Turner, director of youth ministry; Sugar Conrad, Exalted Ruler; and Ray Bibisi, PDD, Lodge Advisor.
On Aug. 2, Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495 used its Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and prepared and delivered 96 backpacks filled with school supplies to Tatum Ridge Elementary in Sarasota, Florida.
Pictured are lodge member Lisa Frick; Barry Dunn, principal; and Su Harley, Exalted Ruler.