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Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2021 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Florida Elks News Online

2624 angel

On Nov. 29, Crestview Elks Lodge #2624 teamed with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) in support of their annual Angel Tree program. The Angel Tree program is a Christmas effort to ensure children can enjoy their Christmas. The program focuses on families in need and the less fortunate who are part of the Crestview community. There were approximately 162 children listed on the Angel Tree this year, more than double from last year’s 63 children in need due to the pandemic. Crestview Lodge adopted six of the children and spent $500. Natalia Reis-Fredriksen, Lodge Secretary, donated the rest to make the total $612. Reis-Fredriksen coordinated with the sheriff’s office and purchased more than 40 items to distribute to the children, including shoes, socks, winter jackets, pants, shirts, toys and art materials. Members of the sheriff’s office will wrap the gifts and distribute them appropriately.

Pictured Nov. 30 with the gifts is Deputy Matthew Langer.


497 LOE Childrens Therapy

On Nov. 6, the Pensacola Beach Lodge Ladies of the Elks presented a check for $1,000 for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services to State President Suzi Simonelli. The Ladies of the Elks hosted a Painting with a Twist night at the lodge, which raised more than $500. They have also done a few jewelry raffles of rings that were donated to them, and they do well with raffle baskets. Their Mother's Day basket raised a record $1,300, and a Blue Angels basket netted approximately $700. Pictured presenting the check to Simonelli are Shelby Smith; Harriet Gossett, Vice President; Jennifer Ross, President; and Kevin Clemons, PDD, District Leader.


1288 heartshomes

On Nov. 16, Fort Myers Elks Lodge #1288 presented a $5,000 check to Hearts and Homes for Veterans Inc. This was made possible through the lodge’s Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant and matching Florida State Elks Association grant. Hearts and Homes for Veterans is a Florida nonprofit corporation that was created to support veterans and their families experiencing homelessness who find themselves without the necessities of everyday life.

Pictured at the check presentation are Roger Spencer, Exalted Ruler; Bob Weinberg, Lecturing Knight; Tom Donohue from Hearts and Homes; and David Lake, PSP, Esquire.


2855 homes

On Oct. 23, Lakewood Ranch-Sarasota Elks Lodge #2855 held a Homes for Our Troops fundraiser at the lodge with a spaghetti dinner and talent show. More than 130 members of the lodge and the public attended and raised over $5,000. Homes for Our Troops is a publicly funded nonprofit organization that builds and donates adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans to enable them to rebuild their lives. Pictured is Tom Sweeney, Lodge Veterans Chair; Michael Monthervil, a veteran recipient of a home in Florida; and Jerry Ditty, Exalted Ruler.


1727 tv

On Oct. 25, PER Bob Roderick and his wife, Doris, of Plant City Elks Lodge #1727 purchased and donated a 65-inch TV to the Plant City Boys & Girls Club. Lodge members Tony Rivera, Mark Henderson and Ed Wise hung the large TV on the wall for the kids. Ed Wise, lodge trustee, reaped the benefits of attending a club in his youth so he knows firsthand the clubs’ benefits to children, and he is an advocate. He had visited the Plant City Boys & Girls Club and was amazed how much the club was in need and how little money the club had. There are 96 kids who go to the club after school each day. Their TV was broken and they did not have any books. Half of their 10 laptops used for the children to do their homework were broken. Ed Wise and Shelly Carroll, Leading Knight and Elks National Foundation Grant Coordinator, are working to obtain a grant to be able to offer the much-needed financial support. In the meantime, the lodge members are doing their best to offer assistance. One member’s neighbor donated 300 books. Ed Wise and several members built bookcases and are working with the city to try to get mulch for their playground. Member Judy Wise said they had no idea how much help is needed and see this as the beginning of building a lasting relationship with the club and a way to help their local youth.

Pictured are Tony Rivera, Mark Henderson and Ed Wise about to hang the TV.


1291 vets

Lakeland Elks Lodge #1291 has a long-standing history of supporting veterans at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital through donations and providing 400 barbecue lunches for the veterans and staff members. However, this past year has been a challenge. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital is guarded on what can be accepted. As a result, Lakeland Lodge got creative. On Oct. 2, members packed 72 backpacks for the hospital’s veterans. Each backpack had a blanket, socks and toiletries.  They were presented to the veterans Nov. 1. This project was led by Char Fisher. The money to support this project is from the Elks National Foundation Freedom Grant along with lodge fundraisers. Members pictured are Sandy Fuschetti; Ann Murray, PER; Penny Deig; Alice Murray; Nancy Read; Deanne Crosby; Marie Crosby; Char Fisher; Christy Frady and Vickie Crosby.