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District Reporter: Courtney Weil, PER

West Central District Lodges Provide Tricycle to 5-Year-Old Girl

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At the request of Wheelchairs 4 Kids, the lodges of the West Central District donated $2,200 to purchase an adaptive tricycle for 5-year-old Marli who has cerebral palsy. Wheelchairs 4 Kids is a nonprofit organization that assists children with physical disabilities by supplying wheelchairs, modifying vehicles, and providing other assistive and therapeutic devices. Erin Wilson, Programs Coordinator for Wheelchairs 4 Kids, describes Marli. She “endures numerous obstacles as a result of the illness. She is nonverbal. Marli uses a G-tube for nourishment. She also cannot walk. The little girl, however, is happy despite her limitations. Many things make Marli smile. Every day she learns something new by watching ‘Sesame Street.’ Her favorite movies include ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Wildcrats.’ Marli also listens to children’s music, but her favorite artist is the reggae superstar Bob Marley. On special occasions, she and her family visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Her must-go-on ride is the Carousel of Progress. Most of all, Marli loves playing with her brother. They can be silly and goofy, and at day’s end, a bit of silliness is Marli’s best medicine.” Pictured are Chris Miles, Tampa Lodge Exalted Ruler; Toni Goodrich, PDD of St. Petersburg Lodge; Bonnie McManus and Rhonda Smith from Holiday Isles Lodge; Dave Marcinkowski from New Port Richey Lodge; physical therapist Nick Hamilton from Charlie’s Champs (the other partner in the purchase); Erin Wilson from Wheelchairs 4 Kids; Raquel Scott, Marli’s mother, holding Marli; Mozes Scott, Marli’s brother, sitting on the tricycle; and Garrett Scott, Marli’s father.

 

Largo Elks Supply Homeless Shelter with Food Donation

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On Jan. 30, Largo Elks Lodge members shopped for nonperishable food items to be delivered to Pinellas Safe Harbor, a homeless shelter in Largo run by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Using the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant, they used $1,000 to purchase food at Sam’s Club. The lodge also holds clothing drives and couples the clothing donations with clothing purchased with the remaining $1,000 from the grant. The facility has at least 425 people, primarily men, pass through their doors every day. Members Jeanne Reinhart, PDD; Alice Wallace and Barbara Hennessey are pictured after purchasing the food. Pictured at the delivery are members Ed Cabana and Alice Wallace; Sergeant Debra Knighton; Jeanne Reinhart, PDD; and CJS Nunez.

 

Pinellas Academy of Math and Science Receives Support from St. Petersburg Lodge

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On Dec. 2, St. Peterburg Elks Lodge #1224 donated $250 to the Pinellas Academy of Math and Science, a charter-public school in Clearwater, Florida, in Pinellas County. The school serves 611 students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The mission of the school is to provide students with a well-rounded elementary and middle-school education through a challenging program focused on mathematics and science using innovative, reform-based, instructional methods in a stimulating and nurturing environment that fosters maximum student achievement. The donation will be used to purchase school supplies.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Supplies and Packs 300 Christmas Dinners

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On Dec. 19, St. Petersburg Lodge’s team of volunteers spearheaded by Christmas food drive chairman, Mimi Reich, put together 300 Christmas dinner boxes valued at $11,724.40 that contained a complete Christmas dinner for a family of 4-6 members. In each box was a $20 gift card for a ham or turkey. The lodge used their $2,500 Gratitude Grant, $2,500 Beacon Grant and $2,000 Spotlight Grants from the Elks National Foundation plus lodge member donations of food and money. Toys that were donated by Florida Elks State Association and Walgreens were included in 22 of the boxes. Home Depot donated the boxes. The volunteers delivered nine boxes to Heaven on Earth for Veterans whose mission is to alleviate Pinellas County veteran homelessness by providing quality, low cost, safe living spaces. Six boxes went to families in need at Tyrone Middle School, 22 boxes went to single-parent homes with two to four kids each, and the remaining 263 boxes along with excess food went to the 38th Avenue Baptist church to be delivered through their indigent family care list.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Supplies and Packs 300 Christmas Dinners

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On Dec. 19, St. Petersburg Lodge’s team of volunteers spearheaded by Christmas food drive chairman, Mimi Reich, put together 300 Christmas dinner boxes valued at $11,724.40 that contained a complete Christmas dinner for a family of 4-6 members. In each box was a $20 gift card for a ham or turkey. The lodge used their $2,500 Gratitude Grant, $2,500 Beacon Grant and $2,000 Spotlight Grants from the Elks National Foundation plus lodge member donations of food and money. Toys that were donated by Florida Elks State Association and Walgreens were included in 22 of the boxes. Home Depot donated the boxes. The volunteers delivered nine boxes to Heaven on Earth for Veterans whose mission is to alleviate Pinellas County veteran homelessness by providing quality, low cost, safe living spaces. Six boxes went to families in need at Tyrone Middle School, 22 boxes went to single-parent homes with two to four kids each, and the remaining 263 boxes along with excess food went to the 38th Avenue Baptist church to be delivered through their indigent family care list.

 

Tampa Lodge Receives Impact Grant for Fifth Year

In late December, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 was awarded the Elks National Foundation Impact Grant for the fifth year for their program at a local high school where they sponsor an authorized school club, Club Chivalry for Successful Students. They purchased computers for the Avid classroom which is where most students come in contact with the club sponsor. The students receive T-shirts and school supplies to help them succeed. During the year they provide refreshments and Elks give motivational speeches at the eight club meetings held during the school year. Elks also chaperone and provide refreshments for field trips year-round and fully sponsor two field trips in the spring and an on-campus field trip in the fall. 

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 Tampa Lodge member John Flowers speaks to Club Chivalry members about his career in sports television Nov. 18 prior to a field trip to Steinbrenner Field where the Yankees minor league team plays and the spring training field) to learn about careers in sports. 

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Club Chivalry students use computers provided by Tampa Lodge’s Elks National Foundation Impact Grant.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Hosts Christmas Party for Local Groups

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Thanks to the Elks National Foundation Promise Grant worth $2,500 plus lodge members donating $775 in new Christmas toys, St. Petersburg Lodge continued its tradition of serving their neighbors in need at Christmastime. With the grant and deep discounts from Walgreens, lodge volunteers went Christmas shopping for educational toys, electronic cars, soft and cuddly toys, diapers, clothing, and much more for newborns to 10-year-olds. Children ages 4-10 also received drug awareness activity books and their parents received drug awareness materials. The party was held Dec. 7 and included “elk” reindeer games, sugar cookie decorating, a balloon artist and various designs of colorful Christmas tattoos. Along with children and grandchildren of lodge members, the lodge also invited several organizations in Pinellas County that the lodge has adopted in the last few years. Attending the party were kids from the Children’s Village, MYcroSchool Pinellas, Sallie House and Westgate Elementary. Lunch was served not only to the 120 kids in attendance but also to the 130 parents and grandparents. Santa and Mrs. Claus spent time with each child and gave them specially selected toys. Receiving a gift during the holidays is a profound reminder to the children that others care for them no matter their circumstances. For the day, everyone was one large family celebrating the joys of the season.

Children’s Village is a Salvation Army program that helps families in crisis or extreme hardship situations who are having difficulties taking care of their children and also provides long-term and alternative care for children who are no longer able to live with their parents. MYcroSchool Pinellas is a tuition-free public charter high school for students ages 16-21 in St. Petersburg, Fla., who are at risk of dropping out. Attending were teenage and young adult students from the school with their toddlers. Sallie House is a safe haven for children from infants to 17 years of age who have been removed from their home because of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Westgate Elementary School in St. Petersburg serves 613 students and of those, 318 receive free lunch because of their family’s situation.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Assists Local Baseball Team with Equipment

On Nov. 23, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $420 to Dixie Hollins baseball team to thank the team members for assisting during a lodge event. According to coaches Ralph Rogers and Dave Neverline, the money will be used toward the purchase of an “L” screen and a batting cage. 

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Continues Support of MSM Inc.

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On Nov. 24, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $3,645 to the non-profit Music Sweet Music Inc. (MSM). A $750 check was given to provide music therapy by a board certified music therapist to an 8-year-old boy who not only has a speech and language disability but also has other special needs. The donation will pay for two months of his music therapy. The boy started his customized music therapy program in July 2019 and his parents are very pleased with the progress he has made since he started going to MSM’s music therapy studio. MSM provides this service at zero cost to his parents. The lodge also donated 60 custom-made double-sided quilts made of fleece, 30 tote bags and over a dozen knitted slippers. This donation was valued at $2,895 and MSM will distribute the gifts to the clients they serve during the Christmas season. 

 

Largo Lodge Holds Eagle Scout Ceremony

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Austin Hollis of Boy Scout Troop #417 sponsored by Largo Elks Lodge #2159 was awarded his Eagle Scout rank at a ceremony held at the lodge Nov. 2. His project was the construction of picnic tables for visitors to Taylor Park in Largo, Fla., who are in wheelchairs. He earned 30 merit badges even though only 21 are required for the Eagle Scout rank. He has served as senior patrol leader and just finished serving the troop as junior assistant scoutmaster. He attends St. Petersburg College and is the eighth Eagle Scout from Troop #417.

Pictured are Rob James, scoutmaster; Austin Hollis, Eagle Scout; Janet Rogers, PER, lodge liaison to the troop; and Joe Fritz, assistant scoutmaster.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Holds Halloween Truck-or-Treat Event

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On Halloween, St. Petersburg Lodge tried trunk-or-treating, a twist on the classic trick-or-treating which brings the ritual to the safety of a private and known parking lot by turning the backs of minivans, trucks and sport utility vehicles into the new front porch. From 6-8 p.m., members were loaded up with a large assortment of candies and watched kids trick-or-treat from car to car. Kids came in waves in pairs or by the dozens. Many of the neighborhood kids fully dressed in Halloween costumes attended. Lodge members socialized, had the opportunity to meet the lodge’s neighbors and showed off their creative themed trunks while seeing all the cute and scary costumes. Congratulations go to Deseray Masi, the winner of the best decorated vehicle in the inaugural event.

Pictured are Deseray Masi with Paula Cope.

 

St. Petersburg Lodge Sponsors St. Anthony's Hospital Golf Tournament

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St. Petersburg Lodge donated $1,000 to the St. Anthony’s Hospital 10th annual charity golf tournament held Oct. 25 at Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. The lodge was a hole-in-one sponsor. Funds raised will benefit the Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center which offers exceptional care for women’s health needs. The tournament also supports the mammography voucher program which helps women who lack insurance or financial resources get access to what could be a lifesaving screening. Exalted Ruler, Dawn Elaine Lieber; Toni Goodrich, PDD; and Jan Durbin Giallourakis volunteered at the Elks tent handing out Elks informational materials, water, soda and crackers to the 128 tournament participants.

Pictured: Toni Goodrich, PDD; Dawn Elaine Lieber, Exalted Ruler; and Jan Durbin Giallourakis

 

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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
 
 
Entire contents copyright 2018 by the
Florida State Elks Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049
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Millennium Walkway

Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:

TinaH@elks.org

JessicaR@elks.org

 

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