|Volume LVIII||August 2011||Number 3|
Lodge Community Service Initiatives
Warmer weather means more time for outdoor activities, including lodge community service initiatives. In between the numerous rainy days of spring, lodge members found time to help their friends and neighbors while taking in some sunshine.Protecting Wolves and Bears
Members and friends of Ephrata Lodge No. 665 organized a community fund raising project in support of a local Boy Scout camp. The J. Edward Mack Scout Reservation is engaged in a project to make overnight camping a little less intimidating for the youngest campers. The project involves building "pods" which link tents into a common platform, enabling the younger Wolves (2nd graders) and Bears (3rd graders) to feel more secure on their first overnight outings.
Lodge members rented the High Sports family fun center in Lititz for a day at a reasonable rate and collected all the money from the gate in support of the Boy Scout project. High Sports not only has a beautiful mini-golf course, but also go-karts, a golf driving range and batting cages. There was something for everybody.
Volunteers publicized the event, prepared food for sale and held a Masonic CHIP event. At the end of the day, the lodge raised almost $3,000 for the Boy Scout camp and demonstrated Freemasonry is an active part of the community. The event was so successful, they reserved the same weekend date for next year for a combined community fund raiser and lodge spring picnic.
Reel Fun for a Good Cause
On April 30, Zeredatha Lodge No. 451, York, and the Mortar Committee of the Masonic Center of York (consisting of all the Masonic groups that meet at the center) sponsored a fishing derby for underprivileged children in the local community.
The event was held at the Starview Sportsmen's Association, a beautiful 200-acre site located outside Mt. Wolf, Pa., with a private reserve of forests and a fishing pond for hunters and fishermen. The association graciously provided their facility for the event and had the large pond stocked with hungry trout. Nearly 30 children, ranging from ages 6 to 12, arrived by bus at 9 a.m. Rules for the event were explained, and then the fun began.
Each child was given a fishing rod and accompanied by a Mason. Soon, with the help of the brethren, the kids were hauling in fish left and right. After a lunch break provided by the Mortar Committee, fishing resumed until every child had caught a fish. The day ended with a visit from "Bob the Critter Guy," a local celebrity who brought a variety of animals, snakes, lizards and spiders for the children to see and hold. At noon, the children departed, taking with them their fish, their own personal fishing rod and memories of a day they won't soon forget.
A Community Canteen
The Upper Darby Township Square Club (UDTSC) recently purchased a motor home and converted it into a canteen which they use to provide food and refreshments to fire and police departments at multi-alarm fires, disasters, etc., in Upper Darby. Members also have used the canteen for Masonic CHIP events and various parades to promote good Masonic relations. Grants from the State of Pennsylvania covered funding for the canteen, so there is no charge for services, but donations are welcomed.
The UDTSC was founded in 1977, and has been successful in providing charity and aid to people in need within Delaware County, as well as assistance to several youth organizations in the area. The UDTSC has sponsored Little League and American baseball teams. In addition, each year they give a scholarship, in memory of Bro. Bob and Ann Meslin, Springfield-Hanby Lodge No. 767, to a student at Upper Darby High School who has been active in community affairs projects.
Members of the UDTSC come from different lodges in the area, but are mostly from the 36th Masonic District. New members are welcome. Meetings are held the first Thursday of the month and include dinner and interesting speakers.
Westfield Lodge Saves Westfield Days
Like many small towns in Pennsylvania, the "community" of Westfield constantly struggles to stay afloat with people traveling further for work, spending more time away from home and local family shops closing down as a culture of "big box" stores and shopping malls move into town. Sometimes, it is the most obscure things which suffer the greatest when this happens. When the Westfield Chamber of Commerce disbanded, many organizations which relied on Chamber of Commerce-sponsored events like "Westfield Days," to help meet their annual fund raising goals, assumed yet another community event had gone by the wayside.
As soon as it was confirmed that no organization was willing to take over the coordination of Westfield Days, the members of Westfield Lodge No. 477 rose to the occasion to pick up where others left off. In line with the 21st Century Masonic Renaissance, the lodge went to work to earn its place at the forefront of its community by organizing this successful event for the second year in a row.
Westfield Days events include a parade, chicken barbecue, other various food vendors, raffles, craft sales, live music, a lodge building open house, car show, basketball and softball tournaments, games and inflatables for the children. One of the star attractions in last year's parade returned this year: a horse and carriage provided by a brother of Westfield Lodge and his wife, which allowed even the oldest brothers of the lodge to participate in the parade.
A majority of the proceeds generated from this year's events, like last year's, will be donated back into the community. In addition, the lodge will use certain designated fund raising to offset the costs associated with its members' trip to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in October. The trip includes a tour and extra meeting of the lodge, as well as shopping for the ladies, a dinner cruise on the mighty Delaware River and overnight accommodations in the City of Brotherly Love.
Year-long Community Service
Manoquesy Lodge No. 413, located in Bath, the heart of eastern Pennsylvania's cement belt, has had a busy year committed to helping their community. The lodge devoted the first half of 2011 to collecting money for a local no-kill animal shelter, providing them with a monetary donation and much needed items to help them continue their charitable operation. For the second half of the year, they will collect money for a local food bank, in hopes of bringing some holiday relief to those less fortunate.
In March, with the assistance of Bro. Ed Budman, Lodge No. 2, Philadelphia, from the Masonic Blood Club, the lodge held their first annual blood drive. It proved to be quite successful, providing Miller-Keystone Blood Center with 28 usable pints of blood. Funds raised during this event were donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. In conjunction with this event, members held an open house, inviting the community to see who Masons are and what they do.
Through a CHIP event held in April, 51 children were registered. In September, the lodge will sell grilled soft pretzels at Bath Community Days and hold their 2nd Annual Basket Bingo fund raiser. On Oct. 9, members will find themselves in uncharted territory as they host their first golf tournament in Bath. Sponsors and teams are already lining up. December is always a special time as the lodge enjoys the pleasure of having Santa as their guest at a local day care center, as well as at a holiday party held at the lodge for members' families and the community.
The local newspaper, "The Home News," frequently publicizes Manoquesy Lodge's activities and events, keeping its name in the forefront of the community. The newspaper is highly involved in the planning and implementation of a new community playground, and the lodge intends to be right at its shoulder, providing whatever assistance and labor its needs.
Manoquesy Lodge No. 413 works hard to keep members active and to serve the community. They have registered for the Masonic Service Association's Mark Twain Award. The award recognizes lodges that have demonstrated exemplary work in constructing a positive Masonic identity within the lodge and for the local community.
"Our efforts strive to make Freemasonry in general, and Manoquesy Lodge in particular, a vital part of our members' lives and a force in our community," Bro. Peter Gigliotti, W.M., said. "The more men know of our great fraternity, the more they will want to be a part of it."
The Gift of Life
The 1st Masonic District held its semi-annual blood drive on June 4 at two locations: the Donegal Masonic Center and the Lancaster Masonic Center. The Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank once again handled all the details of collecting the blood from the approximately 170 Masonic members, family and friends who donated.
The chairman of the blood drive, Bro. Ray Greiner, P.M., Oasis Lodge No. 416, Edinboro, and his committee decided to add a little extra bonus for participating members in the 1st Masonic District by designing a lapel pin (pictured above) to give each donor. Bro. Ronald Good, a 50-year member of Ephrata Lodge No. 665, donated the funds to cover the cost of the pins.
The money raised from the blood drive was donated to the Lancaster Children's Dyslexia Center. The district will host another drive at the same locations on Oct. 8. For more information or to schedule an appointment, go to www.firstmasonic.org and click on "Blood Drive Register Here."
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