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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
 
Entire contents copyright 2023 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049
352-669-9443

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1511

Bradenton Elks Lodge #1511 hosted a children's Christmas party Dec. 10. There were 21 local families in attendance and 49 children received gift bags and lunch with Santa.

Pictured is Maddie Gordon whispering her wish list to Santa.

 

2672 kiw

South Hillsborough Lodge partnered with the Kiwanis Club to hold the annual Christmas Angel Tree program for children in foster care. On Dec. 16, gifts for 42 children were delivered to the Kiwanis Club.

Pictured are Grace Bibisi, PER, trustee, event chair, and Kim Przekop, President of the Southshore Kiwanis Club.

 

2734 walk

Manasota Lodge partnered with Abel Elementary School after Mary Lauderdale, fourth grade teacher, advised them of their need for white T-shirts in various sizes for their second annual Color Splash Walk-a-Thon Nov. 18. Using the lodge’s matching Beacon Grant funds from the Florida State Elks Association, 125 white t-shirts were purchased and donated. This event is a school fundraiser where students solicit donations before walking in a walk-a-thon with classmates. While they walk a one-mile track, there are six stations where different volunteers and staff members throw colored powder at the kids. At the last station, each student receives a popsicle to enjoy with their classmates. The participants raised money for the school.

Pictured are Jan “Spike” Klocke, lodge grant coordinator; Shawn Wheaton, lodge member; Mary Lauderdale, Abel ES teacher; Jim Klocke, lodge trustee; Elizabeth “Liz” Gardini, Abel ES teacher; and Abigail Reeder, Abel ES teacher.

 

        2734 paint 2  2734 paint 1

Manasota Elks Lodge #2734 hosted its second painting party at their lodge with member Cheri Arciniega as the instructor. There were 23 lodge members and seven guests who participated. Each chose to paint either a Christmas picture or a Florida picture. They had lots of fun while raising $165 for the Florida Elks Youth Camp. Pictured are participants with their paintings.

 

2855 cookie

On Dec. 10, Mary and Leon Duis, members of Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge, purchased and delivered cookie trays to 10 local fire departments in Sarasota and Manatee County. Every holiday season, the lodge provides various first responders with treats to thank them for their services.

Pictured are Lt. Rademan from Sarasota Fire Dept. and Leon Duis, lodge officer.

 

IMG 2785

On Dec. 3, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge sponsored the Manatee County Meals on Wheels Shoebox gift event. More than 1,300 shoeboxes filled with presents for local seniors were donated. The event was held in the lodge and food was served to more than 150 people. In addition, $10,698 was raised through raffles, silent auction items, sponsorships and donations.

Pictured are Maribeth Phillips, president of Meals on Wheels Plus, and Brett Davis, Lodge Secretary.

 

2855 hoop

Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge held its Hoop Shoot Dec. 4 at Carlos Haile Middle School in Bradenton, Florida. Five contestants will advance to the district competition.

Pictured with contestants are Randy Volkart, Lodge Hoop Shoot Chair, and committee members Joe Volari and Tony Lapera. Not pictured are committee members Tracy Lapera and Nancy Volkart who also helped conduct the event.

 

2855 boil

On Oct. 8, Chef Brett Davis, Lodge Secretary, cooked and hosted a shrimp boil and dance at Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge. The event raised $2,000 for the Elks National Foundation.

 

2672 church

On Oct. 24, South Hillsborough Elks Lodge #2672 donated $2,500 from its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant to the Sun City Center United Methodist Church to purchase nutritional food for children and youth of the community whose families are financially disadvantaged. Dinner is served twice weekly in the church’s dining room.

Pictured among others are Grace Bibisi, PER, trustee; Joyce Dominick-Schaefer, PER, grant coordinator, presenting the donation to Pastor Josh Landers; Jennifer Clance, coordinator of the younger youth program and the youth group; and Bill Turner, coordinator of the older youth program.

 

SW elroy 

On Oct. 25, members of Manasota, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota and Bradenton Elks lodges, along with Elroy the Elk, the mascot for the Elks Drug Awareness program, attended the Manatee County School Board meeting for the reading of the proclamation of Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31. Jack Cantwell, PDD from Bradenton Lodge spoke on behalf of the BPOE national Drug Awareness program, the largest volunteer drug awareness program in the United States. He mentioned the Elks support of Red Ribbon Week to communicate drug awareness to youth. From Oct. 24 through Oct. 31, Elroy the Elk (Dawn Markham) was escorted by Diane Davis to 11 elementary schools in the Manatee County School District to greet students at arrival/morning announcements and visit classrooms to deliver his message of “Say NO to Drugs.”

Pictured are Jack Cantwell, PDD, Drug Awareness State Vice Chair from Bradenton Lodge; Diane Davis, Manasota Lodge Drug Awareness Chair; Ken Davis, PDD from Manasota Lodge; Dale Steinke, Manasota Lodge Exalted Ruler; and Elroy the Elk (Dawn Markham from Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge). Pictured in the back row are members of the Manatee County School Board.

 

2855 pet

During Hurricane Ian, John Piper, PER and Diane Jethwa, kitchen manager, of Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 volunteered to stay at the lodge and keep it open to members and their pets so that they could shelter safely. Five members and their pets checked in Sept. 27 and stayed two days, until the hurricane passed.

Pictured is a member and her pet.

 

2495 Ava

Earlier this year after receiving an email from a neighbor (whose parents were Elks) about a family in need, Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495 got involved. They contacted the family and found out that 6-year-old Ava Zinmeister was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy caused by Kleefstra syndrome. Due to Ava’s condition, her mother, Toby, had to carry her up and down outside flights of stairs multiple times a day to transport her to therapies, doctor appointments and school. To make matters worse, Toby struggles with arthritis. It was obvious that Ava needed a lift. The lodge led a drive to raise money for a battery-operated chair lift and raised enough money in one night to pay for the chair. The lodge also informed the family about Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Toby said they had tried so many organizations for donations but were always told the money ran out. “The Elks stood up when no one else would; we’re so appreciative. I’m thankful to the Elks beyond words,” said Toby.

Shown in the picture is Ava in her chair with the lift wheels.