While many people have had to stay home to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, police officers, firefighters and paramedics are on the frontlines of this pandemic putting their own health at risk to serve the community. On Aug. 7, St. Petersburg Lodge provided 30 pizzas to additional police and fire departments. The extra-large pepperoni and meat pizzas were made by the lodge’s chef, John Bauer. Three teams delivered 16 pizzas to St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD), 12 pizzas to St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Station (SPFR) and 2 pizzas to St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Station No. 9. The value of the donation was $315. Pictured at SPPD are Al Literski, Lecturing Knight; Sharon Literski, Loyal Knight; Officer Gabriella Burger; Officer Rick McKee; H. Tom Shriver, PDD; Cathy Shriver, PER; Officer Michael Schade; and Officer April Grasso. Pictured at SPFR are Joanne Matos, PER, West Central District Vice President; Eric Matos, lodge member; Lt. Steve Lawrence; and Mimi Reich, lodge member. Pictured at Station No. 9 are LT Adras; Kirk Martin, Inner Guard; Probie Wright; David Walker; Hope Jagodzinski; and Justin Woodard.
On July 23, St. Petersburg Lodge members donated and delivered 24 pizzas to first responders. When you’re in the middle of a crisis, sometimes the easiest things are forgotten, including a meal while you’re working. "Our goal with this donation was to take care of the people who take such great care and protect us. We wanted them to know that they are appreciated and honored at this critical time. It was a privilege to be able to offer some form of comfort to those who have been working literally nonstop,” said Doc Cook, Exalted Ruler. Cook and Kirk Martin, Inner Guard, made four deliveries — six pizzas to Lealman Fire and Police, eight pizzas to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center, six pizzas to Pinellas Park Fire & Police and four pizzas to Kenneth City Fire & Police. With a generous discount, the lodge spent $260 for the meals which gave the first responders a chance to sit down, eat something warm and get a nice break. Cook received immediate feedback when he dropped the meals off at these organizations and he could tell that there were big smiles beneath the face masks. The first responders know that they are supported by the community. Pictured at Lealman Fire Department and Rescue are Michael Harris, Tim Bennett, Doc Cook, Kirk Martin, Bill Vasquez and Chris Cobos. Pictured at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Communication Center are Tessa Jones, Doc Cook, Stephen O-Boyle, Kristen Dudash and Inner Guard Kirk Martin. The names of those pictured with Kirk Martin and Doc Cook at Pinellas Park Fire and Police Department were not available.
On July 24, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $1,000 to be a hole-in-one sponsor for the 11th annual golf classic for St. Anthony’s Hospital of St. Petersburg, Florida. The tournament is scheduled Oct. 23 at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Tampa, Florida. The funds raised will benefit the Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center which offers exceptional care for women’s health needs.
On July 22, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $270 to Southeastern Guide Dogs (SGD), a nonprofit with a national reach whose Florida location is in Palmetto. SGD is committed to providing highly trained, elite guide or service dogs of the highest pedigree for people who are visually impaired, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and children with disabilities. SGD provides the premier dogs and lifetime services at no cost to the recipients.
On July 28, St. Petersburg Lodge donated $2,000 from its Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant to The Kind Mouse Productions Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that assists children in Pinellas County with food insecurities and chronic hunger. The Kind Mouse has been committed to feeding children on weekends through their mouse nibbles program. Now, with the pandemic, they have boosted their services to feeding kids and sometimes their families on a weekly basis. By providing mouse nibbles bags for kids, parents know their children are fed and can have one less stressor during this difficult time. This is the lodge’s second donation to The Kind Mouse because the lodge has an ongoing commitment to making it as easy as possible for local program operators to get food to children impacted by the pandemic. It remains critical that children continue to receive safe, healthy and nutritious food while staying home safe. Pictured are Dawn Elaine Lieber, PER, grant writer; Gina Wilkins, president and founder of The Kind Mouse; Dan Masi, Leading Knight and liaison to The Kind Mouse; and Doc Cook, Exalted Ruler.
On July 8, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge member Penny Rase delivered an additional 15 face masks (pictured) that she made to Pet Pal Rescue in St. Petersburg, Florida, along with a donation of $300 which was made possible from sales and donations from her custom masks.