Masonic Angel Foundation Special Broadcast
May 24, 2004 - Benevolence Stories - "Masonry at Its Best"
Dear friend of the Masonic Angel Fund,
Once in a while we like to produce a broadcast devoted entirely to benevolence stories. Recent weeks have provided a wonderful assortment of examples of how Masonic Angel Funds make a difference in children's lives.
Boston First Fund - Boston, MA
As the Boston First Fund approaches its first anniversary, we recognize that this non-traditional Masonic Angel Fund has come into its own. When the BFF was first established as a "partnership license" last spring, the Lodges in Massachusetts' First Masonic District set a goal to serve children in the immediate Boston area. However, because of the size of the city the Boston Lodges and the Foundation decided to take a different route to identify children in need. As a result, the Boston First Fund works with support organizations in Boston rather than directly with the public schools.
Thus far in May, the Boston First Fund has purchased necessary clothing for twenty-five children in need referred by the ABCD Head Start Program. Also in conjunction with Head Start, BFF provided eyeglasses for a four-year-old Brighton boy, offered campership assistance to four-year-old and five-year-old Allston boys with special needs and assisted with tuition for a summer arts enrichment program for a four-year-old Dorchester girl. The BFF also assisted with the purchase of clothing for a nine-year-old girl and a fourteen-year-old girl in the custody of the Department of Youth Services.
Needham Masonic Angel Fund
The Masonic Angels in Needham, Massachusetts have been hard at work this month. Here is a run down of some of their benevolences:
Two boys - one in third grade and one in fourth grade - MAF provided school staff with the funds to purchase appropriate school attire for each boy.
Provided campership to a YMCA summer camp for a second grade girl.
Provided campership for a third grade boy with profound special needs.
Tuition assistance to permit a third grade boy to attend a summer recreation "day camp" program for five weeks.
Participated with other community groups in campership assistance for a fifth grade girl to attend the Clara Barton Diabetes Camp.
Tuition was provided for a third grade boy and a fourth grade boy to attend a swimming instruction program offered by the town's Parks and Recreation Department.
Campership for a fifth grade boy to attend a Town of Needham "outdoor living adventure camp".
Azure Lodge Masonic Angel Fund in Walpole, Massachusetts recently provided substantial financial assistance to help with the transportation to preschool of a youngster suffering from a brain tumor.
Hope Lodge Masonic Angel Fund in Gardner, Massachusetts assisted in the purchase of prom dresses for two Gardner High School girls who had previously received MAF assistance. We note here that many of our "older" Masonic Angel Funds have formed continuing (if anonymous) relationships with certain children in need. Some of our MAF's may assist certain children throughout their entire school career.
St. Alban's Lodge Masonic Angel Fund in Foxboro, MA underwrote tuition for six worthy children to participate in the Southeastern Massachusetts Arts Collaborative's "summer institute" program.
St. John's Lodge MAF in Newburyport, MA was the lead charity in an alliance of local groups to purchase a Braille printer and special software for a vision-impaired child. Oftentimes, a benevolence request is simply too big for a Masonic Angel Fund to support - rather than say "no" and walk away, our more creative Masonic Angels partner with other local benevolent groups to make something happen for a child.
Universal Lodge MAF (Orleans, MA)
Funded afterschool program tuition for a six-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister. These children were staying with their grandparents in local senior housing, until they were evicted on May 1st. This afterschool program was part of the overall program to keep these two youngsters in a structured environment as much as possible.
Participated with other local charities to underwrite tuition for a ten-year-old Brewster boy to attend a four-week "speech camp" in Boston to help him to overcome a severe stuttering problem.
Participated with other local charities to fund a campership for a seven-year-old Brewster boy to attend the Joslin Camps for diabetic children.
Funded tuition for a three-year-old girl to attend a summer respite program at The Children's Place. This girl and her brother are being raised by their elderly grandmother, who is finding the summer with two youngsters to be a bit beyond her physical limits.
Provided eyeglasses for two local children.
Grandparents Read This
We at the Foundation note with some dismay the growing number of benevolences that involve young children being raised by grandparents who are often well into their 70's or 80's. A few months ago we even learned of one benevolence that involved a great-grandmother raising two boys ages five and seven.
Many of the "recreational" program that are funded by our constituent Masonic Angel Funds are provided in order to keep children supervised while their parents work during the summer or after school. However, many of these same programs provide a valuable respite for senior citizens who are faced with the upbringing of one or more young grandchildren.
It is with great pride that we observe so many of our constituent Masonic Angel Funds standing by these seniors as they try to do their best for their grandchildren. This is truly an example of Masonry at its very best.
Regards to all,
Robert W. Fellows
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.