Volume LVIIMay 2010Number 2

Community Service Through Lodges

When Masons gather together, they can accomplish much in a short period of time. Whether a project takes a few hours or a full day, the many benefits that result in the community and within the fraternity are well worth the effort.

The members of Muncy Lodge No. 299 always seem to be busy. In January, they held their first blood drive of the year and collected 35 units of blood. Members were ready to help set up when the Red Cross arrived, and throughout the day, about 15 members helped ensure everything ran smoothly until the bloodmobile pulled away. "It was easy for the Red Cross. We have a convenient location for people to donate blood, and we have quite a few members who are regular donors," Lodge Secretary Bro. George Fraley said. Since then, Muncy Lodge has scheduled four more blood drives.

Muncy Lodge hosts a monthly spaghetti supper and Saturday morning breakfast that attract about 100 people each as fund raisers. Two members of the lodge who also belong to the local Methodist church put their cooking experience to more good use by serving a delicious spaghetti meal for a youth group event.

In February and March, Muncy Lodge sponsored a food drive, collecting canned goods at meetings and other events it sponsors, to benefit the local Son-Light House, which distributes it to those in need. "People are getting to know more about us and are asking more questions. [Community service] makes people more aware of what and who we are," Bro. Fraley stressed.

Bros. Bill Adler; Ernie Bernice, W.M.; Larry Reeher; and Dick Schuster set up for the CHIP event.

Lodges have the manpower and connections to provide long-lasting resources for the community. On Oct. 17, 2009, Shenango Valley Lodge No. 810, Hermitage, worked for six hours with brethren from other lodges in District 53, Zem Zem Shrine clowns and Hermitage police officers to provide more than 135 children with finger prints, video interviews and more at their second annual Child Identification Program (CHIP) at Shenango Valley Mall.

When Patty Ozio wanted to throw a party for the returning 56th Stryker Brigade, of which her son, Bro. William Jack Mallory, Juniata Lodge No. 282, is a member, she contacted the Grand Lodge for assistance. The lodges of District 20 took up the cause, and the response from the whole Altoona community was overwhelming. Patty donated $1,000 from excess proceeds to the now Help for Our Heroes program after hosting an Iraqi Freedom Dinner for the 56th Stryker Brigade on Oct. 11, 2009.

Community service, like random acts of kindness, requires a keen eye to recognize people's practical needs. At the February Stated Meeting, Bro. Dennis Bailey, Junior Warden, Christiana Lodge No. 417, informed his lodge that a local family needed assistance. The father had lost his job, the mother was diagnosed with cancer and their child has Down syndrome. A basket was used to collect donations after the meeting, and the members gave $150 that night. The donation was matched from the lodge's Charity Fund, and the brothers presented a $300 grocery gift card to the family.

"The family just couldn't believe someone would think of them and help them in this way. They were really ecstatic about the gift card, especially considering their circumstances," Lodge Secretary Bro. Bill Brown said about his lodge's gift. "Service projects get us out in the community and get us more involved. They take away some of the secrecy and make us more visible."

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