On Dec. 15, 27 St. Petersburg Elks Lodge members, pictured, assembled 366 holiday food parcels for local families in need. Each bag contained ham, mashed potatoes and gravy mix, stuffing, green beans, corn, yams, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, pudding mix, and evaporated milk. The food, valued at $8,500, was purchased in part with a $2,500 Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant and proceeds from a Night at the Races fundraiser. Members also donated items.
Tampa Lodge’s Oct. 23 Club Chivalry meeting of 27 students at Robinson High School began with Carolyn Miller handing out raffle tickets for two $25 gift cards, like they do for each meeting — one at first bell to encourage the students to arrive on time and one at last bell so they stay until the end. Shelagh Gombarcik, PLP and Tommy Moore distributed the beverages and Betty Orcutt, Bonnie Atwood and Elma Kelly handled the treats. Robert Maloney tallied the club officer election results, which had an overwhelming majority — president, Jordan, 11th grade, pictured with Tommy Moore; vice president, Miah, 11th grade; secretary, Jaiden, 9th grade; and public relations, Markeria, 9th grade. The meeting also included team building games and the distribution of club T-shirts. Several students even wandered in to ask how they could join.
On Oct. 15, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 held its Hoop Shoot and Soccer Shoot at SLAM! Tampa, a K-12 charter school in Citrus Park. Member Roshaun Gendrett is the Dean of Students and arranged for the competitions to be held in their indoor gym. Hoop Shoot contestants get 25 shots. Soccer Shoot contestants get 15 shots to hit the goal. The goal was sectioned out in point value. The higher the kick into the net, the higher the points they received. There were first and second place medals for the winning boys and girls in each of the three age divisions. The winners move on to the district competition. The Hoop and Soccer Shoot Committee provided drinks, snacks and Halloween candy during both events. All the volunteers and participants and their families also had a fried chicken dinner from Publix, which included green beans and mac & cheese with cookies for dessert. The adults were all entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card, which Tampa member Kim Benzing won. Drug Awareness bags with coloring books and crayons were also distributed to participants. There were 26 volunteers for this event, including eight non-Elks. The rest were members of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Holiday Isles and Eustis lodges.
Pictured are Patricia Volpe, Tampa Hoop and Soccer Shoot Chair; Aubriyanna Soffer, champion; and Bryan Sullins, Tampa Elks volunteer spouse; Hoop Shoot warmup with volunteer Yaitza Blasini and participants Aubriyanna Soffer, Selena Soffer and Kenner Reeves; and the Soccer Shoot warmup.
Club Chivalry for Successful Students, the Tampa Lodge-run club at Robinson High School, held its first meeting of the school year Sept. 16, using funds left from its Elks National Foundation Impact Grant. This year they are going back to their roots with a selected group of students who really need the extra push to be successful in high school, concentrating on making sure they have the supplies they need and that they feel connected to their school and want to attend classes each day. Carolyn Miller, PLP handled the raffle ticket distribution. Patty Volpe and Robert Bordonaro got the students’ T-shirt sizes. Betty Orcutt and Michael Volpe handed out slices of pizza and Rita Smith, PER handled the drinks. This meeting had 48 students. The Elks had two drawings for gift cards. Kailyn Morman, Vice Principal for Administration, spoke about the history of the school and the Elks, and Smith explained who the Elks are and some of what they do. Nominations were held for the four club officers — president, vice president, secretary and public relations officer. Per grant rules, the Elks are the treasurer.
Pictured are Betty Orcutt, PLP; Robert Bordonaro; Patricia Volpe; Michael Volpe; and Carolyn Miller, PLP.
Also pictured are a student who won a gift card and Kailyn Morman.
Between Sept. 11 and Sept. 15, Tarpon Springs Elks Lodge #1719 delivered school supplies and cleaning and hygiene products to Sunset Hills Elementary School, Tarpon Springs Elementary, Tarpon Springs Middle School, Tarpon Springs High School, Citizens Alliance for Progress, and Cops ‘n Kids, all in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The lodge used its $2,600 Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and donations from members.
Mr. Coleman of Sunset Hills Elementary School; Nancy Gorby, chaplain; and Robert Gorby, PER, trustee
Ms. Cook of Tarpon Springs Elementary; students, and Robert Gorby, PER, trustee
Sheryl Powell, CAP administrative assistant
Susan Kikta, Tiler; Chi Girtman, Cops ‘n Kids volunteer; Ryan Farley, Cops ‘n Kids administrator; Mary Kurchinski, lodge grant writer
On Aug. 1, Tampa Lodge donated approximately $250 worth of individually wrapped women’s jewelry to the Sunshine Senior Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. The jewelry will be used as game prizes or special occasion-gifts for the many seniors who spend a good part of their day in the facility.
Pictured are Tom Moore, Friends of the Sunshine Center volunteer; Rita Smith, PER; Carole Ware, Sunshine Senior Center community resources supervisor; and Sally Marvin, Sunshine Senior Center supervisor II.