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

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1511 hooves

On June 24, Bradenton Elks Lodge #1511 hosted an awards ceremony for Hooves with H.E.A.R.T., a horse therapy organization for children who have special needs. The Southwest District, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 and Bradenton Lodge donated a total of $5,500 toward their programs.

Pictured are Susan Erwin, PER, Bradenton #1511; Coleen Gallant, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services Director; Fiona Danielle Curtis, Hooves with Heart Director; and Bob Erwin, PDD, Bradenton #1511.


2734 abel

                       2734 abel 2 2734 abel 3

Manasota Elks Lodge #2734 used the Florida State Elks Association’s matching Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant funds to purchase school supplies on Abel Elementary School’s wish list and delivered them April 8. The school sent the following thank you letter May 3.

In the delivery picture are Mary Lauderdale, fifth grade teacher, front; Spike Klocke, lodge grant coordinator, middle; and Diane Davis, lodge four-year trustee; Ken Davis, PDD, Esquire; Liz Gardini, fifth grade co-teacher; and Jim Klocke, lodge two-year trustee. Also pictured with the supplies are Jennifer Moore, assistant principal; and Bryan Baker, student support specialist.

Abel Elementary would like to extend their sincere gratitude for everything you have done for our students and staff members. Your consistent support for the past two years has been a wonderful addition to our Abel family of eagles.

You have provided our school with countless supplies, offered our students opportunities to meet Santa, given our students a chance to participate in writing contests, and provided our team with a wonderful, kind foundation of support.

It is groups like the Elks lodge that make it possible for us as a Title 1 school to continuously support our students and we cannot thank you enough!

We look forward to our continued partnership and want you to know that the Elks Lodge of Manasota will forever be a part of our Abel Eagle Family.

Thank you for all you do!


2855 seals

On June 17, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge donated $500 to the Easter Seals Happiness House in Sarasota, Florida. Their program assists children with disabilities so they can have more access, opportunities and life choices.

Pictured are Faith Frost, Leading Knight (middle) and her two great grandsons presenting the check to Miss Jody and Miss Courtney, two of the program directors.


2855 flag

On June 12, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge invited the Manatee High School JROTC to present the varied historical flags during the lodge’s annual Flag Day ceremony. In appreciation, the lodge donated $250 to their program.

Pictured are members of the JROTC and several lodge officers and Americanism committee members.


2495 hkrs

Alexis Robbins, a member of Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495, has been the volunteer community coordinator of the Sarasota Healthy Kids Running Series (HKRS) since early 2019. This program engages communities and families by providing an inclusive youth running experience, inspiring kids to believe in themselves and lead an active healthy lifestyle. HKRS was created by Jeff Long, founder and president of Pattison Sports Group, to motivate kids to lead a healthy and active lifestyle through a positive introduction to the world of running. To combat increasing rates of childhood obesity in America, he designed a running program that provides a fun environment and builds self-esteem. HKRS is a national, community-based nonprofit program that provides a fun, inclusive five-week running series in the fall and spring for ages 2-14 to get active, feel accomplished and lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Races include a 50-yard dash for 2- and 3-year-olds, a 75-yard dash for 4- and 5-year-olds, a 1/4 mile for kindergarteners and first graders, a 1/2 mile for second and third graders, and a mile for fourth through eighth graders. There is also a 75-yard dash, an inclusive race for children with special needs. The fall series begins Sept. 11 and takes place at 3:45 p.m. Sundays in Payne Park. At each event, Robbins shares information about the Elks Drug Awareness Education program, Hoop Shoot and Soccer Shoot.


2855 efelt

On April 10 at Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge’s annual car show which encouraged visitors to bring food items, they and Bradenton Elks Lodge #1511 held a stuff-the-truck event for EFELT (Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies). The EFELT program donates food to 11 nearby schools to provide meals for children during the weekend. As a result, the amount of food and money donations helped feed the children for the rest of the school year.

Pictured with the EFELT supply truck and van are volunteers: Clay Wakefield, Lodge #2855; Art Long, Lodge #1511; Jack Jernigan, Lodge #2855; and Brian Dunne, Lodge #2855.


1511 mana

On Feb. 12, Bradenton Elks Lodge #1511 donated its $3,500 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to Manatee County Children’s Services. This organization provides advocacy, support with homelessness, basic medical needs, counseling and tutoring for children who are at risk.

Pictured are Bob Erwin, PDD, Exalted Ruler, and Krista Post, Manatee County Children’s Services development coordinator.


      2734 Gnome   2734 Jellyfish

On Feb. 28, Manasota Elks Lodge #2734 hosted a painting party at the lodge. Member Cheri Arciniega was the instructor for 19 members and guests, who chose to paint either a gnome or a jellyfish. There was much fun and laughter at this event, all while raising $100 for the Florida Elks Youth Camp, as $5 per participant and instructor went to the cause.

Pictured with their gnome paintings are Carolyn Hostetler, Dee Babcock (guest), Janet Moyer, Renee Hauck (guest), Marilyn Patton and Jamie Yates.

Pictured with their jellyfish paintings are (front row) Jeanne Wordell, Wanda Burke, Toni Iannuzzi and Diane Davis. In the back row are Stephanie Lund, Carol Femia, Pam McDowell, Robin Hutchins, Guy Mugavero, Monica Wycoff and Jessica (guest, last name unavailable).


2734 pig cropped

On March 5, Manasota Lodge held its annual pig roast fundraiser. This year’s proceeds were earmarked for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS). Members Bobbie and Sonny Woods donated and cooked the pig. There were ribs, barbecue chicken and pulled pork sandwiches and sides. There was also a chance auction, craft vendors and music by JB Carr. The district’s FECTS therapist, Clara Budynsky, did an outstanding job explaining the program and her duties as a Florida Elks therapist. The event raised $2,500.

Pictured are Sonny and Bobbie Woods.


2855 race 1  2855 race 2

The Past Exalted Rulers of Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge held its annual Day at the Races event Feb. 20. Members pick their favorite horses from a list of 10 races that took place around the country. At this event, $3,500 was raised, which will be used to fund lodge charities.

Pictured are lodge members lining up to place their next bets and members reviewing the horse statistics while waiting for the race to begin.


Jim Lamb, PDD of Sarasota South Elks Lodge #2495 has served as the Sarasota County Coordinator for the Marine Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign for the past 20 years. This year was an especially busy year with all the problems associated with the pandemic and families requesting help for Christmas for their children. A total of 184,769 toys, including bicycles, books and stocking stuffers, were distributed to 17,540 children. Lamb organized the program and 51 lodge members worked 23,340 hours. PER Dave and Sherie Gillum of Venice-Nokomis Lodge #1854 helped, too. Richard Bouchard, PER from Sarasota South Lodge hosted a cruise-themed Toys for Tots fundraiser at the lodge that raised more than $5,000. Other campaign volunteers were from the VFW Post 3233, local schools and the Fraternal Order of Eagles #2756. Multiple businesses also held fundraisers throughout the county to support this year’s campaign.


2855 thor

On Dec. 22, Rick and Kay Thorson, members of Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Lodge (pictured), delivered food baskets purchased by the lodge to the Salvation Army that contained items for 12 complete Christmas dinners. The food was then distributed to 12 targeted families sponsored by Pathway to Hope, an organization working with families that desire to break the generational cycle of crisis and enable a path out of poverty.