Volume LVSpecial Inaugural Edition January 2008Number 1

Change for the Troops

Many of our fellow brethren, loved ones, friends and other brave members of the military are making a great sacrifice by serving in our armed forces to preserve our freedom. Beginning with January lodge meetings, brethren will be asked to empty their pockets of change as they leave the lodge room and place their coins in a collection container. The funds collected each month will be sent by the Lodge Secretary to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, where the lodge's donations will be logged and placed into an account from which international calling cards will be purchased to send to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. These calling cards will enable our service men and women to better keep in touch with their families back home.

How it Will Work

Funds will be collected at every meeting of every lodge over the next two years. The Senior Warden, when called on for his comments at the close of the lodge, is charged with announcing this program to the brethren.

This is a true grass roots effort. Lodge funds are NOT to be used for this. The source of the funding is intentional; it is to be the pocket change you otherwise would have carried out of lodge and taken home with you. This is deliberate. Each donation is to be given directly from the hands of the individual brothers at our lodges to our troops in harm's way in the combat theaters of Afghanistan and Iraq. Cards will only be sent to our men and women in those two areas of operation - nowhere else. It is to be a conscious reminder of the price our men and women in the armed forces pay every day.

Each month, no matter what the amount of the collected funds may be, the Lodge Secretary is to send a check, issued by the lodge for that exact amount payable to the "Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Change for our Troops Fund," to the Office of the R.W. Grand Treasurer in Philadelphia. By sending the contributions in each month, this will help to provide a constant and even flow of funding. The funds collected are to be part of the minutes to be read at the next Stated Meeting of the lodge.

Upon receipt in Philadelphia, the donations will be deposited into that fund reserved for that purpose. Records will be kept so each lodge has the full assurance that an individual accounting of their contributions occurs. These records will be updated upon receipt of the contributions, with acknowledgement being sent from the Office of the R.W. Grand Treasurer to the Lodge Secretary via e-mail.

Once a month, calling cards will be purchased in increments of 300 minutes; this amount has been chosen with consideration for the time it often takes for calls to be placed from our military men and women in these remote areas. The volume of cards purchased will be a direct function of the funds collected and sent to the Grand Treasurer. The cards will be placed in individual sleeves, (shown above) and transported into both Iraq and Afghanistan. Once on site, the cards will methodically be distributed to the servicemen and servicewomen of all branches of service.

Why it Will Work
Bro. Peter Gardner,
son of Stephen Gardner,
R.W. Grand Master

While the change rattling in each of our pockets may not amount to much, when combined they will add up to a considerable gift... an opportunity for our troops in harm's way to call home when the sound of a familiar voice and expression of love is needed most. It's also our opportunity to thank them for their service and their sacrifice.

We will incur no additional overhead expenses as a result of this worthwhile program. This task is being absorbed and supported by existing staff so that 100 percent of the funds collected will be used for the acquisition of the calling cards.

The freedoms we enjoy have never been free; they have come at an extremely high cost, paid by veterans, as well as those troops serving today. Brother by brother, month by month, lodge by lodge... let's show them our appreciation for their willingness to Earn it Again.

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