The District 40 CHIP team held an event on Jan. 13, 2007, at the Bechtelsville Wal-Mart and CHIP'd 98 children. Some participants waited in line for up to 20 minutes, but there were no complaints, and all of the participating families were very grateful for the program. During a lull in the action, Wal-Mart presented the team with a check for the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation in the amount of $1,750 to help fund this and future events in the district.
Under the supervision of Bro. Andy Weitzenkorn, P.M., Stichter Lodge No. 254, and his dedicated group of volunteers, the program is in its third year. Several benefits are evident as a result of the CHIP program:
On the surface, CHIP is a Child Identification Program unlike any other in the country because it is provided FREE OF CHARGE to all parents who seek it out. But internally, Freemasonry receives a greater benefit by uniting brethren, families, neighbors and others in the community to work for this common cause.
- Since 2005, the CHIP volunteers have distributed over 2,600 kits in the local communities, providing peace of mind to parents and providing the opportunity for them to talk about personal safety with their children.
- Working with the CHIP program brought together a diverse group of individuals working for the common good and has built friendships that will last a lifetime. These relationships extend across district boundaries due to participation in events with the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th Masonic districts.
- Retirees from several local retirement homes, such as the Frederick Mennonite Community, participate in the preparation of the CHIP kits. Even though they are unable to attend an event, it gives them a chance to contribute to their community, while providing fellowship and an introduction to Freemasonry.
- CHIP events in the 40th District are family events. Fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers all come out to participate. Several of our younger CHIP volunteers became members of our Masonic family after participating in a CHIP event.