Freemasonry at its Best!
"Angel Mail" Update - January 1st,
Welcome to Our Newest Masonic Angel Funds
We are pleased to welcome the following new Masonic Angel Funds:
120 William North Lodge Lowell MA 05/09/2007
121 Mount Washington Valley MAF North Conway NH 11/07/2007
122 Mount Zion Lodge Barre MA 12/05/2007
Since the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund carries the designation of MAF #0, this places us at 123 Masonic Angel Funds in twelve states.
A few days after school has opened from the Christmas recess we suggest that you touch base with your school contacts. While the holidays always seem busy, there are many teachers and nurses who wait until after school vacation to see if certain kids might have received necessary clothing and outerwear in the form of holiday gifts. The weather here in New England will be turning quite cold by the end of the week which gives us all the more reason to anticipate quite a few requests for coats, boots and warm clothing.
This winter could be an especially challenging one for our Masonic Angel Funds. Fuel costs are high, the economy is slow and a lot of families are really struggling to pay their bills - perhaps more so this year than at any time since we started the Masonic Angel Fund in 1998.
Expect another peak in requests sometime after April 1st. That is the time of year when utility companies can once again terminate services to those who cannot pay their bills. Many families are put on very challenging payment plans which can cause other expenses to go unpaid. We often see a big increase in requests for help with after school program tuition and summer program fees throughout the spring. Experience has shown that the months of April, May and June can be even busier than the holiday months of November and December.
Please stay in touch with your schools for these next few months. The kids will probably need us more this year than ever before.
Semi-Annual Reports for the Fall Semester Due January 31st
Semi-annual report packets will be mailed out sometime in the next two weeks. The reports are exactly the same as they were last semester. Please remember that the reports for July 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007 are due at the Foundation's office by January 31, 2008. In addition to the mailed packet, the forms will be posted on our web site for download as soon as they are published.
St. Andrew Benevolence Builder Grant Series Continues
The winter series of Benevolence Builder Grants continues. The Benevolence Builder program is made possible by a grant from The Lodge of St. Andrew.
This grant series runs from November 19, 2007 through January 31, 2008 and will conclude early if the allocated funds are expended.
Any Massachusetts Masonic Angel Fund in good standing may apply for a 50% replenishment of benevolences conferred during the grant period. Please note that each qualified Masonic Angel Fund may receive up to a cap of $1,000 for this series. This means that we can replenish 50% of your benevolences up to $2,000 during the life of this grant series.
To apply for a Benevolence Builder Grant simply email the particulars of each benevolence to email@example.com - DO NOT save up your benevolences to be submitted at one time - the money might very well be depleted before you submit your request. Please send your requests as you confer the benevolences.
As always, we express our sincerest thanks to our Brethren in The Lodge of St. Andrew for their continued generosity to Massachusetts' Masonic Angel Funds.
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:
North Quabbin Masonic Angel Fund (formerly Star-Athol MAF) - Holiday gifts for more than 125 children. This Masonic Angel Fund works closely with several community service groups to help an extraordinary number of families each year. In 2006 the Star-Athol Lodge MAF received a "Spotlight Award" from the North Quabbin Community Coalition for "improving the quality of life for those living and working in the North Quabbin region."
Cape Cod - Masonic Angel Funds across the Lower Cape came together to provide holiday gifts for children served by the Interfaith Council for the Homeless. Participating MAF's included Universal (Orleans), Pilgrim (Harwich), Mount Horeb (Dennis), Winslow Lewis-Adams MAF (Wellfleet) and King Hiram's (Provincetown). A rather shocking statistic for those involved is that there are some 300 children classified as homeless living in these towns.
St. John's Lodge - In Newburyport, MA the St. John's Lodge MAF provided field trip fees for several children whose families could not afford to send them on the school's Christmas field trip.
Nauset Light Lodge/St. Andrew Fund - Nauset Light Lodge provided holiday gifts for eighteen girls who reside at the Latham School in Brewster that were being left at the school over the holidays. Nauset Light's benevolence was supplemented both with a grant from the St. Andrew Fund as well as by a very generous donation from the father of a disabled child.
Level Lodge - Provided holiday gifts for multiple children at three different schools in Worcester.
Gifts for Children of our Troops - Joseph Warren-Soley Lodge and Simon W. Robinson Lodge joined together with the St. Andrew Fund and a private donor to provide back-to-school clothing for thirty children and holiday gifts for seventy-five children whose parent is deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. These children were referred through the USO New England Council. This is the fifth year that MAF has worked with the USO on holiday benevolences and we continue to be impressed by how much far they can stretch our money. Massachusetts Freemasonry overall has provided outstanding support for our troops since the War on Terror began in 2001.
Universal Lodge - ULMAF provided eyeglasses for a youngster in Orleans, assistance with trip fees to several Brewster girls involved with the Brewster Bayside Skippers and assisted with after school program tuition for several children.
Marine Lodge - In Falmouth, MA the Marine Lodge Masonic Angel Fund had a very busy season indeed. Recent benevolences include holiday gifts for multiple children, many winter clothing requests, eyeglasses and holiday gifts for children who are living in safe houses due to domestic violence situations.
Mount Horeb Lodge - MHLMAF provided holiday gifts to children in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program as well as some very necessary clothing for two Dennis girls attending Cape Cod Technical School.
Pacific Lodge - The Pacific Lodge MAF in Amherst, MA was able to purchase winter coats and boots for approximately twenty children only a few days before Christmas. One of the school counselors took a personal day on December 21st in order to organize the purchase and distribution of the coats and boots. The counselor and her daughter contacted each family to ascertain sizes and then obtained the winter gear at special prices through J.C. Penny and L.L. Bean. The approximate average cost for this benevolence was only $50 per child but what a difference it made!
Artisan Lodge - Winchendon, MA children were fortunate to have Artisan Lodge MAF working for them this year. Seventeen children received holiday gifts and a family who lost them home to a fire received clothing and replacement bedding. Once again the smart shoppers in Winchendon did all of this good work for only $950.
Wellesley Lodge - Provided holiday field trip fees for children who would otherwise have been left behind.
Children in Foster Care - Mount Carmel-Damascus MAF, Golden Fleece Lodge MAF, Amesbury MAF, Azure Lodge and the St. Andrew Fund came together to provide clothing and holiday gifts for twenty-four children throughout eastern Massachusetts in foster care with New England Center for Youth and Families
Big Sister Association of Boston - The Boston First Fund and the St. Andrew Fund provided holiday gifts for some 137 children served by the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
Boston First Fund - The BFF provided funding for holiday gifts to fourteen children in foster care under the supervision of Mr. Anthony Pitts at the Roxbury DYS facility. Boston First Fund also partnered with ABCD Head Start to provide clothing for several children who were under the care of their great-grandmother as well as a bus pass for two children who were moved to a shelter beyond walking distance of their regular Head Start facility.
Mystic Valley Lodge - Holidays gifts for multiple children.
Golden Fleece Lodge - Field trip fees for children whose parents could not afford to send them on the school's winter field trip.
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.
Military Benevolence Program
A reminder, if you have any children of military personnel who are deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan a generous private foundation patron has made a fund available to help local Masonic Angel Funds who are providing assistance to children of these brave men and women. Contact the Foundation if you have a benevolence request that might qualify for 100% reimbursement under this program.
A Big Thank-You
At this very busy time of year it is pleasing to see how many of our volunteers come forward to help carry out our important work. As always, I call your attention to our volunteer Treasurer, Lorrimer Armstrong, Jr., who spends most of his waking hours on MAF work during the holidays. Our webmaster and compliance officer Mario Mere keeps the information flowing and has proved indispensable as we devise the new reporting systems that will be introduced next year. We thank Southard Lippincott for taking a trip when no one could leave their desks during Christmas benevolence season and Bill Reade for ferreting out some absolutely last minute needs among the families of our troops.
It is with the deepest of gratitude that we thank our donors who provide the fuel that keeps the MAF fires burning.
Finally, we thank each of the volunteers in our 123 affiliated Masonic Angel Funds. You local MAF trustees are the eyes and ears of this program. You are our foot soldiers and gatekeepers. Without your outreach to the schools and social service partners everything else here in MAF-land would be theoretical. It is your day-to-day devotion to local children in need that is the true backbone of the Masonic Angel Fund.
As the Masonic Angel Fund program begins its tenth year it is humbling to look back and see how far we have come. In 1998 we auctioned Beanie Babies to raise the money to advance the fledgling MAF at Universal Lodge. Today we are help thousands of children across 123 communities. We continue to function with an all-volunteer staff. We are fortunate to have our modest operating costs underwritten by dues and donations to the operating fund by our members. Ten years ago we said that 100% of a donor's money went to the kids and we can still say that today. Let's all work to stay on that path through our second decade!
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.