Masonic Angel Foundation Special Broadcast
December 11, 2003
"A Good Day to Be a Mason"
A personal note from MAF co-founder Robert W.
Today is truly a great day to be a Mason! As I sit here this morning surrounded by the remnants of yesterday's benevolence work, I find it such a sublime pleasure to be at the vortex of so much Masonic Angel Fund activity.
We often talk about "a day in the life" of someone or another. Some of us here at the Foundation thought our readers might enjoy a little about "a day in the life" at the Masonic Angel Foundation during the holiday season.
Yesterday several of us were called upon to spend the entire day on Masonic Angel Fund matters. I am a volunteer. All of us Foundation-side are volunteers. Four of our Board members are self-employed and one is retired (but works full-time for MAF). We all work hard at our businesses but this is the time of year when it is necessary to "go on vacation" so we can sit in our offices and work on MAF benevolences.
Here is what went on in "a day in the life" at the Foundation.
Charity Auction - We will hold our annual charity auction next Tuesday at the Sheraton in Eastham, with proceeds to benefit the local Masonic Angel Fund. I say "we" because we in the Foundation are also trustees of our local Masonic Angel Funds. Some of us were out soliciting auction items and others were concerned with selling tickets.
Local Benevolence - Yesterday our local Masonic Angel Fund provided "Christmas" for two children in Brewster and an eye examination for a boy in Orleans. Requests were received, checks written and deliveries made.
Memorial Donations - Processed over $275 in memorial donations in honor of Wor. Gerald Edgar Downs to benefit the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund. These were receipts from the first "mail day" after Bro. Downs' obituary was published.
New Masonic Angel Funds - We signed up two new Masonic Angel Funds yesterday. These are so new that our webmaster hasn't even got them on the site's list of MAF's yet. He's learning of them as you are learning of them:
#73 Frank W. Thompson Lodge, Bedford, MA 12/9/2003
#74 Simonds Lodge, Burlington, MA 11/11/2003
#75 Charles W. Moore Lodge, Fitchburg, MA 11/21/2003
This gives us 76 Masonic Angel Funds in 8 states. The numbers are offset by one because Universal Lodge (the "Mother MAF") carries license number zero.
Tri-County Youth Programs - Yesterday we received a call from Amanda Jacelon Benyo at Tri-County Youth Programs requesting a proper bed for a foster-child in Boston. Since the "Boston First Fund" is administered by the Foundation, Amanda came to us. She had secured a bed, mattress and box spring for $225 from Mattress Discounters. Amanda fronted the cost on her own credit card and we sent a reimbursement to her. We will be hearing more from Amanda in reference to Christmas benevolence requests.
Head Start of Cape Cod - This agency works with our local Masonic Angel Funds on the same basis as a school. Yesterday, June Horan from Head Start contacted us for assistance with twenty-one children who were unlikely to receive Christmas gifts this year. Most requests were filtered out to five local Masonic Angel Funds in the Cape Cod region and the remainder were covered by the St. Andrew Fund.
Big Sisters of Boston - Through the Boston First Fund, the St. Andrew Fund and local Masonic Angel Funds, MAF provided Christmas benevolence packages for some thirty-five children referred through the Big Sister agency. Big Brother/Big Sister agencies are authorized to work with Masonic Angel Funds on the same basis as a school. Because the Boston First Fund and St. Andrew Fund are administered by we at the Foundation, these requests came through here and were addressed immediately.
USO New England Council - Working with Alice Harkins of the USO is always a pleasure. Alice brings all benevolence requests to the Foundation and then we either introduce her to a local Masonic Angel Fund or address the request through the Boston First Fund and the St. Andrew Fund. Yesterday, the St. Andrew Fund, Boston First Fund, Meridian Lodge MAF, Frank W. Thompson MAF and Joseph Warren-Soley MAF provided USO Christmas benevolence packages to forty six children of deployed military personnel. This is the second round of Christmas assistance with USO this year.
Benevolence Builder Grants for Constituent Masonic Angel Funds - We issued several St. Andrew Benevolence Builder Grants yesterday. Some of the benevolences that these covered are listed below - remember this is just what we did yesterday!
Star-Athol Lodge (Athol, MA) - assisted a military family with Christmas gift cards for three children, provided funds to Value our Children program for Christmas gifts and purchased coats/hats/mittens for twelve children at the Phillipston Elementary School
Cawnacome Sunshine Lodge (Bourne, MA) - Worked with the Bourne public schools to provide Christmas packages to several families in need; provided dance lessons for a child in the Head Start program who needed help with balance and gross motor skills
Marine Lodge (Falmouth, MA) - provided $1,000 to Morse Pond Elementary staff for Christmas benevolence packages
Artisan Lodge (Winchendon, MA) - over $1,575 in autumn benevolences including $900 in deeply discounted Christmas gifts for kids in the Winchendon schools
St. John's Lodge (Newburyport, MA) - Winter coat and boots for a 12 year old girl
Russell Lodge (Arlington, MA) - $550 for Christmas benevolence packages and $100 to support a local program that buys books for elementary students in homes where literacy is under-supported.
Our CFO (Wor. Lorrimer Armstrong, Jr.) was in Boston yesterday attending Grand Lodge and St. Bernard's Commandery. I fear that he had apoplexy when he opened his email last night. John Sherman and I sent him at least twelve check requests yesterday. As I am writing this, I have already sent him three more this morning.
As I said, today is a great day to be a Mason!