The Florida State Elks Association (FSEA) Army of Hope provides assistance to our deployed military members, returning veterans and their families. The need for this assistance remains constant.
The families of Florida active-duty military personnel, military reservists, Coast Guard, National Guard and/or their dependents are eligible. Active-duty members stationed in Florida with their dependents qualify as Florida residents.
The distribution of funds will be limited to assisting all Florida active duty military personnel, military reservists, Coast Guard, National Guard and their dependents when they have been called to service due to the crises in Southwest Asia (SWA) or in the case of any future conflict or in the case of a major disaster in our State. Wounded veterans in the above named conflicts, family members of a military member killed in action or as a result of deployment will be eligible for assistance. Returning veterans of any deployment to or in support of SWA are eligible for assistance with family and medical expenses incurred as a result of a deployment. Military members called to active duty to cover a stateside position of a deployed person will qualify as “deployed” for the purposes of this policy. Any active duty member stationed in Florida with his/her dependents would qualify as a Florida resident.
Since its inception in 2007, the Army of Hope has raised $620,208.29 and distributed $508,591.35 for families of deployed military members. The help you give through the Florida Elks Army of Hope allows the military members to safely concentrate on their duties without worrying about their families at home. The Army of Hope also assists returning veterans with costs to re-establish their civilian life after deployment.
Examples of assistance
Medical and dental emergencies not covered by insurance
Minor home repairs (plumbing, painting, etc.)
Auto repairs or transportation when needed
Full-time or backup babysitting
Phone cards to contact loved ones
Lawn mowing, landscaping, sprinkler repairs
A/C and major appliance repairs
Clothing and shoes
The Army of Hope Committee (AOHC) will consist of one Past State President (PSP) appointed by the PSP Advisory Council, one member of the FSEA Charities Boards appointed by that board’s current president, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the FSEA Veterans’ Committee, the FSEA Secretary, and one member from each of the fourteen districts appointed by the District Advisor.
The district committeeman shall be responsible for publicizing the purpose of the AOH, coordinate all requests for assistances from their district, coordinate the district fundraisers, and distribute information within their district of all assistance rendered to military members and families by the AOH committee. The SEC District committeeman is Jim Rannazzisi, PER from Vero Beach Lodge #1774. You may contact Jim at 703-303-2672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lodge Veterans Service Committee members should talk with the military units and veterans organizations in their area and let them know the Army of Hope is here for them and their families. Many of those in need of assistance are too proud to ask for it and wait until they are desperate. Several in the past year were about to become homeless and were at their wits end. We can help sooner if our Veterans Service committees are engaged.
The FSEA has established an Army of Hope Grants Committee to act upon requests for funds. Members of the AOH Grants Committee and their contact information may be viewed at the FSEA website. A log-in to flelks.org is required.
Policy & Procedure
All funds collected for the Florida Army of Hope will be held in a restricted account under the control of Florida Elks Charities Board of Directors. The audit period for these funds will be June 1st of one year thru May 31st of the following year.
Requests for funds begin with a completed Assistance Request Form, With the exception of emergency (immediate need) requests, they must be submitted through the nearest Lodge’s Chairman of Veterans Services, through the District AOH Committeeman to the AOH Grants Committee. This allows the local chairman and District committeeman to verify the request and pass it on to the AOH Grants Committee with their recommendations. Once the AOH Grants Committee receives the request a final decision, to approve or reject, should be reached by them in no more than 72 hours.
Some of the available funds will be needed very quickly to fulfill an emergency request of a military family in one of our Florida communities. The Lodge Chairman of Veterans Service, in concert with the Lodge Standing Relief Committee and the District AOH committeeman, will be responsible for reviewing these emergency requests. If they feel the request is valid, they will contact a member of the AOH Grants Committee for approval to proceed in honoring the request. These written emergency requests will be handled at the Lodge level and upon receiving proof that the funds were disbursed it shall be the responsibility of the AOHC to reimburse the Lodge. In no case will the AOHC be responsible for any Lodge disbursement where the committee did not give written approval in advance.
The AOH Executive Committee will consist of the AOH Chairman and Vice-Chairman; the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the FSEA Veteran’s Committee and the FSEA Secretary. The AOH Executive Committee will review and approve or reject in writing all requests for disbursements of available funds. The decision to allocate funds and in what amount and for what purpose will totally be at the discretion of the Army of Hope Executive Committee.
The AOH Fundraising Committee will be sub-committee of the AOH Committee. The Fundraising Chairman will be appointed by the Chairman of the AOH Committee. The Fundraising Chairman will work with the District AOH committeeman to coordinate all fundraising activities for the AOH within their district. The AOHC and the AOH Fundraising Committee are under the control of the Charities Board.
Stuart-Jensen Lodge #1870 is hosting a golf tournament to benefit the AOH at Jensen Beach Golf Club on May 2, 2021. We need each Lodge in the SEC District to support this tournament. The best way you can help is to encourage team entries from your Lodge . The four person scramble format will be loads of fun for all that participate. We’re also looking for hole sponsors. See the flyer for details.