Freemasonry at its Best!
"Angel Mail" Update - December 25,
Welcome to Our Newest Masonic Angel Funds
We are pleased to welcome the following new Masonic Angel Funds:
112 Franklin Lodge Grafton MA 04/06/2006
113 Daniel Webster Lodge Marshfield MA 11/13/2006
114 Garfield Lodge #569 Highland IN 10/13/2006
115 Good Samaritan Lodge Reading MA 06/07/2006
Since the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund carries the designation of MAF #0, this places us at 116 Masonic Angel Funds in twelve states.
Winter Outreach Reminder
The Christmas holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for Masonic Angel Fund trustees. Those of us who have been in the MAF "business" for a few years know that the weeks immediately following the schools' Christmas vacation are also an especially active time.
Why? Many of the school staff wait to see what the kids get for Christmas from their grandparents and other family members. The coldest weather of the winter seems to hit us in January so the teachers may not yet have seen which children have proper winter clothing and which ones do not.
Most schools return to session on January 2nd. We recommend that you outreach your schools no later than January 10th to remind them your MAF is available to help with clothing and other winter needs.
Beginning in mid-March we usually observe a big jump in requests for help with after-school program tuition and other assistance. This is usually caused by two things. First, the after-school programs are nearing the end of their "scholarship" monies. Second, the utility companies in many states cannot turn off service for non-payment during the winter months - but that grace usually ends around March 15th. If the parents are in difficulty we start to find out at that time of year.
Eight Years and Counting
November marked the eighth anniversary of the Masonic Angel Fund program. We established the program at Universal Lodge in November 1998 and then began bringing it to other Lodges in August 2000. As I spoke with many local MAF trustees during the "Christmas rush" I was impressed by the pool of experience we have built in this program. Many of our volunteers have been with their local Masonic Angel Fund since it was established. Their relationships with the schools and knowledge-base are a vital part of why MAF succeeds.
Because many of our volunteers are senior citizens, we urge everyone to think about transitions and succession in their programs. We have seen a couple of MAF's in the past couple of years that took some giant steps backwards after abrupt, unplanned changes in trustees.
If your Masonic Angel Fund has been active for a number of years, you have become an essential part of your schools' support structure. There are many communities where the schools depend very heavily on MAF assistance for their children in need.
Should you be planning to retire as a trustee of your Masonic Angel Fund, please take the time to mentor your successor(s) and introduce them to the schools. Also, as officers move through your line be sure to educate them about MAF. Everyone coming up to the East should be aware of what MAF does and what it means to the community.
We volunteers here at the Foundation thanks everyone - volunteers, patrons and school partners - for their hard work in making this program a jewel in the crown of Freemasonry. Keep up the good work!
A Special Word of Thanks to Lorrimer Armstrong
The holiday season is a very busy time of year for our volunteer staff here at the Foundation. From mid-November right through Christmas, there are a tremendous number of requests to be screened, checks to be written, donations to acknowledge, bank deposits to be made and phone calls to be made. During the two weeks leading up to Christmas some of us barely have time to work at our "day jobs" because of the demands of MAF activities.
At this time of year our treasurer, Lorrimer Armstrong, Jr., is truly the backbone of the Foundation. Many of you know that Lorry spends several months of the year in Florida. Because of the Foundation's heavy use of the Internet (thanks to webmaster Mario Mere), Lorry conducts business from Florida just as if he were sitting across the table from us. We send him multiple financial transactions throughout each day. He does much of our check writing from Florida, with only the time-sensitive transactions emanating from here in Orleans. This often involves almost a full-time work commitment that Lorrimer has undertaken during his retirement years. Lorry has done this every day for the past eight years with complete dedication. While my desk is the "vortex" of most transactions, an hour of my work emailed off to Lorry can create four or five hours of work for him.
The officers and directors of the Masonic Angel Foundation tip their hats to Lorry Armstrong and thank his wife Judy for her unwavering support of his commitment to the MAF program.
Below we have shared a very few benevolence stories. We receive so many bulletins from our affiliated MAF's that it is often difficult to choose which stories to include in a bulletin. Here is a representative sample:
May Flower Lodge - This Middleboro, MA affiliate provided a hearing aid for a nine-year-old girl and money to purchase clothing for a child who was placed into emergency foster care with just the clothes he was wearing.
Olive Branch Lodge - Provided program tuition for four children at Sutton High School.
Joseph Warren-Soley Lodge - Eyeglasses for an eight-year-old girl, school trip fees for six children and holiday gifts for five children.
Level Lodge - Purchased a special "cube chair for a five-year-old boy with disabilities, provided a coat/backpack for a seven-year-old boy, funded the purchase of winter clothing for five children, and provided holiday gifts for over 70 children
St. John's Lodge - Provided winter clothing for a family of three children, purchased holiday gifts for two children, and assisted with the purchase of a special mattress for an eight-year-old boy.
Damascus-Mt. Carmel Lodge - Holiday gifts for three children in the Big Sister program, holiday gifts for five children in foster care and clothing assistance for a four-year-old girl and her seven-year-old brother.
Amesbury Lodge - Holiday assistance for four children in foster care.
Universal Lodge - Holiday gifts for six children in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, clothing for three children, holiday assistance for an Eastham family.
St. Alban's Lodge - Holiday gifts for two children, emergency clothing for a twelve-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister and eyeglasses for a five-year-old boy.
Boston First Fund - The Boston First Fund continues to make a difference the lives of children who often find themselves in the most dreadful of situations. Fall benevolences included: back to school clothing for eleven children served by Roxbury DYS, school supplies for three children in foster care, bedding for a seven-year-old girl in foster care, clothing and shoes for twin girls (age 4) in the Head Start program, medical ID bracelets for four siblings in Head Start, clothing for multiple children in Head Start, holiday gifts for fourteen children served by Roxbury DYS, holiday gifts for eighteen children in foster care and holiday gifts for twenty children in the Big Sisters of Greater Boston program.
Nauset Light Lodge - Provided clothing and necessary personal items for approximately twenty girls at the Latham School in Brewster, MA. Subsequently, NLLMAF also provided holiday gifts of clothing and personal care items for thirty-nine students at Latham. The Lodge of St. Andrew participated with Nauset Light Lodge in both of these benevolences.
Marine Lodge - Holiday packages for five children in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, emergency clothing for a six-year-old boy and his nine-year-old sister, holiday gifts for twenty-five children in the Falmouth/Mashpee school systems, gifts for seven children who are spending the holidays in local domestic violence safe houses.
Fraternal Lodge - Holiday gifts for twenty-three children in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, gifts for dozens of children in the Barnstable school system.
Howard Lodge - Holiday gifts for six children in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
When one reads through these benevolences there is no doubt in one's mind that MAF is literally changing the lives of many of the kids we serve. So often we "greet" a child at a fork in the road and provide the means for him to take the more hopeful of the two roads before him.
Zip Code Directory
Several people in the MAF community have asked for an easier way to find out if a particular community is covered by an extant Masonic Angel Fund. Our current directory of Masonic Angel Funds lists the city where the sponsoring Lodge is located. However, there are many of our constituent MAF's that serve children in several towns.
In order to come up with a "zip code search engine", our webmaster needs a list of all zip codes that are served by each Masonic Angel Fund. Please save us some postage by emailing your MAF name and the zip codes/city names it serves to firstname.lastname@example.org - information should be submitted as it is in the following example:
Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund
02643, East Orleans
02662, South Orleans
02651, North Eastham
Thank you for providing our webmaster with the information necessary to fuel this new search engine.
Share Your News!
Do you have benevolence stories you would like to share with the rest of the MAF on-line community? If so, please email them to email@example.com and we will pass them along to your colleagues.
Regards to all,
Bob Fellows, Co-Founder/Board Secretary
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.