December 5th - FREEMASONRY AT ITS BEST!
"Angel Mail" Holiday Update
This is a quick broadcast to keep the MAF community informed about ongoing Christmas benevolence work by our constituent Masonic Angel Funds.
Masonic Angel Funds Help USO Families
As in previous years, the USO Council of New England has called upon Massachusetts Masonic Angel Funds to help with holiday gift packages for children of deployed military personnel. USO gift packages are approximately $50 each and contain over $100 in clothing, toys and other items. Constituent Masonic Angel Funds are invited to fund USO packages for children living in the communities served by the particular MAF Lodge. Thus far, the following Masonic Angel Funds have provided USO packages:
Fraternal Lodge MAF (Centerville-Barnstable, MA) - girl 13, boy 9 (Army)
Howard Lodge MAF (Yarmouth, MA) - boy 8, girl 9 (Navy)
Marine Lodge MAF (Falmouth-Mashpee, MA) - girl 11 (Army), boy 4, girl 7, girl 3, girl 7 (USCG)
Paul Revere Lodge MAF (Brockton, MA) - boy 5, boy 7, boy 8 months, girl 4 (Army)
Meridian Lodge MAF (Natick, MA) - boy 9, girl 4, girl 14 months (Air Force).
We are still waiting on several more benevolence request that will be coming from three other military installations after screening by the USO New England Council.
USO Executive Director also tells us that she has received substantial assistance for purchasing holiday gift cards from the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, General Henry Knox Lodge, Mount Lebanon Lodge and The Lodge of St. Andrew. While the gift card program is separate from the MAF-sponsored holiday gift packages, it makes one feel good to be a Mason when one hears of the Craft-wide generosity to the families of our deployed troops.
St. John's Lodge MAF (Newburyport, MA) has dispensed over $1,069 in benevolences since November 22nd. Look for a "quick news item" detailing their work at www.masonicangelfund.org today or tomorrow.
Universal Lodge MAF (Orleans, MA) Between November 1st and December 3rd, Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund has provided the following benevolences:
$188 for an eight year old girl to continue tap lessons
$144 to continue violin lessons for a widow's son (no kidding!) with special needs
$103 eyeglasses and examination for a nine-year-old girl
$89.91 for "Leapfrog Learning Software" for three ESL (English as Second Language) students in Brewster. The software will remain the property of the school when the kids are finished with it.
$450 to provide necessary clothing and winter items as a "Christmas package" for a five-year-old boy, two seven-year-old girls and one ten-year-old girl all from Brewster
This follows a successful October where the ULMAF provided three sets of eyeglasses/exams and participated with other groups in the purchase of a chair lift for a girl with spina bifida for an October total of $654 in benevolences.
Azure Lodge (Walpole, MA) paid $70 for a high chair for the infant of a single mother with two other young children - the father had left just prior to the baby's birth in August.
Other Azure MAF benevolences in November include:
$75 winter coat and other items for a five-year-old girl
$300 to purchase holiday gifts for three children in one family - boy 14, boy 9 and girl 12
$75 winter coat and other items for a seven-year-old boy
$150 to provide clothing for a high school girl whose single mother is
Boston First Fund (Boston, MA) provided a number of benevolences so far in this holiday season:
$60 for eyeglasses for a seven-year-old girl in the Big Sisters of Greater Boston program
$300 to purchase winter clothing for three siblings served by the Big Sisters of Greater Boston program
$2,000 to provide appropriate and necessary clothing along with other personal items for twenty children in the care of the Roxbury Department of Youth Services. Mr. Anthony Pitts of Roxbury DYS typically yields $150 to $200 for each $100 he expends on holiday packages like this.
$300 to purchase clothing and outerwear for a three-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl whose grandmother recently secured their custody (ABCD Head Start)
$200 for winter clothing for two brothers (ages 4 and 5) served by the ABCD Head Start program of Boston
Fraternal Lodge (Centerville, MA) contributed $800 to provide Christmas gift packages for sixteen children through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. They also provided tuition for an enrichment program for a high school girl and $130 for another young lady's eyeglasses and exam.
Golden Fleece Lodge MAF and Mount Carmel Lodge MAF (both of Lynn, MA) each provided ten $100 camperships for the Lynn Special Needs Camp program.
Howard Lodge MAF (Yarmouth, MA) paid for eight $50 Christmas packages for Yarmouth youngsters through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
John Cutler Lodge (Abington, MA) provided benevolences that include:
$53 for a health conditioning program for a seven-year-old girl
$88.50 for eyeglasses for a twelve-year-old boy
$270 to provide afterschool tuition for a seven-year-old girl, a nine-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy whose mothers are suffering from serious illness.
Marine Lodge (Falmouth, MA) paid afterschool tuition ($200) and for a doctor visit plus medication for another child ($100). Marine Lodge MAF also provided three $50 Christmas packages for local children in need through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
Mariner's Lodge (Cotuit, MA) provided two $50 Big Brothers/Big Sisters Christmas packages for children in Marstons Mills.
Mount Horeb Lodge (Dennis, MA) provided Big Brothers/Big Sisters Christmas benevolence packages for an eleven-year-old boy, a twelve-year-old girl and a thirteen-year-old boy.
Nauset Light Lodge (Orleans-Chatham, MA) in conjunction with The Lodge of St. Andrew provided forty Christmas packages at $40 each for girls in residence at the Latham School in Brewster. As with many of MAF's partner agencies, the staff at the Latham School is simply ruthless in negotiating discounts on merchandise they purchase with MAF monies.
Needham Masonic Angel Fund (Needham, MA) offered tuition assistance of nearly $1,000 for selected students in need to attend sessions of the Academy of Physical and Social Development.
Mystic Valley Lodge (formerly Russell Lodge) (Arlington, MA) purchased coats and winter items for a kindergarten girl as well a fourth grade girl for a total benevolence of $200. They also provided $1,000 to fund Christmas packages for approximately thirty children at the East Somerville Community School.
St. Alban's Lodge MAF (Foxboro, MA) paid $104.68 for one month of medication for a sixth grade boy in an emergency situation where the parents could not afford the prescription.
Star-Athol Lodge MAF (Athol, MA) purchased winter clothing and bedding for five children at the Riverbend Elementary School for a total of $500.
Tahattawan Lodge MAF (Littleton, MA) expended a total of $134.95 to purchase remedial reading books for one middle school girl and to obtain necessary school supplies for another girl in the same middle school.
We will keep you informed of additional benevolence stories as the holiday season continues.
These stories are truly something in which all Masons can take pride.
There are times when we are challenged to question our identity and mission as Masons.
At times like those we urge everyone to take a step back and consider where the children in your community would be without your local Masonic Angel Fund - or without the vital work of the CHIP child ID program and other Masonic charities. Where would our military families be without the nearly-universal support provided by Masonic charity? What would happen to the little girl who needs eyeglasses - or to the little boy who comes to school in winter in obvious need of a warm coat?
Our charitable work is one of compassion, integrity and public trust. Let all of us remember that we are a vital part of our local children's support network.
Please share your stories of holiday benevolence with us via firstname.lastname@example.org - we want see everyone get proper recognition in the media for the exemplary work all of us do in the Masonic Angel Fund.
Regards to all,
Bob Fellows, Co-Founder/Board Secretary
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.