Masonic Angel Fund News

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Freemasonry at its Best!
 
"Angel Mail" Update - December 24, 2008 - "Holiday Wrap-Up" Issue
 
Welcome to Our Newest Masonic Angel Funds

We are pleased to welcome the following new Masonic Angel Funds:

131 Carmel Masonic Angel Fund Carmel IN 11/13/2008
132 Greenwood Masonic Angel Fund  Greenwood IN 11/06/2008
 

Since the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund carries the designation of MAF #0, this places us at 133 Masonic Angel Funds in twelve states.

Holiday Season Wrap-Up
 
 
The Masonic Angel Fund is just concluding its tenth holiday season! 
 
Is it possible for anyone involved with the MAF program for very long not to have a different perspective the holidays?  When one works as a Masonic Angel Fund volunteer one quickly learns how acute the needs are at this time of year, most especially in this year's horrendous economy.
 
The requests kept rolling in here at Foundation "headquarters" right up until the post office closed today (Christmas Eve) at noontime.  In addition to benevolence requests submitted to special funds that we administer here at MAFI, we also receive numerous applications for the ongoing Benevolence Builder Grant series.  The convergence of these communications puts us in a pretty good position to see what is happening across the Masonic Angel Fund network.
 
What we are seeing is a trend towards far more "basic" benevolences than we see in a better economy.  Most of this year's benevolences seem to be for the most basic necessities - clothing, food and eye care.  Certainly anyone who has much MAF experience already knows that eyeglasses are our number one benevolence in units of service each year - and always have been.  However, we have not before seen so many requests for assistance in purchasing food.  We also note far fewer reports that mention toys as holiday gifts.  It also appears that the average cost-per-benevolence is lower than it was in previous years, with the overall number of benevolences quite a bit higher.
 
Another trend that we see system-wide - with profound relief - is the continued generosity of our donors.  Yes, our Masonic Angel Funds are spreading the dollars further than ever this year but thankfully the overall amount of money with which they are working remains stable.  We again offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who provided financial support to MAF this year!
 
In addition to a higher number of holiday requests, an unanticipated situation surfaced after much of New England was stuck with a crippling ice storm.  Many families lost all of their perishable food after being without power for several days.  This accounts for some of the increase in food benevolences, though is far from the only factor at play.  Especially hard-hit were the families of deployed military personnel, many of which were relocated to National Guard facilities in Eastern Massachusetts where they were housed and fed until power was restored in the more rural parts of New England.  Our Masonic Angel Funds rose to the challenge and provided grocery cards for the military chaplains to give to families that needed to replace lost food and also assisted with the cost of feeding the displaced families.  We also helped at least one family that lost their home due to a storm-related fire. (They lost all of their household goods but everyone in the family is safe and un-injured.)
 
We know our readers enjoy benevolence stories so we have shared a sampling of benevolence stories further on in this bulletin.
 
A sincere "thank you" goes to each and every person involved with the Masonic Angel Fund this year.  Whether you are a trustee in a local Masonic Angel Fund, a volunteer worker for the Foundation or one of our generous donors, we appreciate all that you do for the children we serve.
 
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
 
Regards,
 
Robert W. Fellows
Co-Founder/Board Secretary
 
 
Benevolence Builder Grants Continue
 
Both the St. Andrew Benevolence Builder grants for Massachusetts Masonic Angel Funds and the Founders' Fund Benevolence Builders for non-Massachusetts members of the group exemption continue.  Many affiliates have already reached their $1,000 threshold for this grant series, but funds are still available for those who haven't.  Please submit your requests for 50% reimbursements via email as soon as possible. 

These grant series will both continue until January 31st and will end sooner if allocated funds are exhausted.
 
 
Benevolence Stories
 
Below is a sampling of some of the benevolence stories we have collected during the holidays.  As always, this list is just a representative selection of benevolences granted:
  • Winslow Lewis-Adams Lodge MAF (Wellfleet, MA) - provided holiday gifts for eleven children referred through the Interfaith Council for the homeless
  • Beverly Masonic Angel Fund (Beverly, MA) - holiday gifts for two children referred through USO New England
  • Boston First Fund - "absolutely everything from underwear to winter coats" for four girls in South Boston, bedding for a three-year-old girl, clothing/holiday gifts for multiple children served by the New England Center for Youth & Families foster care program, clothing/holiday gifts for multiple children served by the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, clothing/holiday gifts for multiple children served by the Roxbury DYS facility foster care program
  • North Posey County MAF (Cynthiana, IN) purchased an ambulatory bicycle to help with physical therapy for a disabled child
  • Greenwood (IN) Masonic Angel Fund provided eyeglasses for an elementary school boy.  This request was received and granted at this new Masonic Angel Fund's introductory meeting with school staff - their very first contact with MAF!
  • John Cutler MAF (Abington, MA) provided program tuition for an eleven-year-old boy, funded a diabetic prescription for a seven-year-old girl and provided coats for five children.
  • King Hiram Lodge MAF (Provincetown, MA) provided holiday gifts for seventeen local families.
  • Konohassett MAF (Cohasset, MA) provided holiday gifts for five children referred by the USO
  • Level Masonic Angel Fund (serving schools in Worcester, MA) provided coats and winter clothing for multiple children and holiday gifts for over 40 children.
  • Mount Washington MAF (North Conway, NH) provided grocery cards to a family with a critically ill child, gasoline card for a family with a hospitalized child, winter clothing for multiple children and grocery cards for multiple families.
  • Mystic Valley MAF (Arlington, MA) provided winter clothing and holiday gifts to multiple families.
  • Pacific Lodge MAF (Amherst, MA) funded the purchase of special contact lenses for a child with a severe corneal disorder and winter clothing/boots for fourteen children.
  • Paul Revere Lodge MAF (Brockton, MA) winter clothing, food and/or footwear for multiple children.
  • Pilgrim Lodge MAF (Harwich, MA) holiday gift packages for multiple children referred both through the local schools and the Interfaith Council for the Homeless
  • St. Alban's MAF (Foxboro, MA) holiday gifts for more than thirty children
  • North Quabbin MAF (Athol, MA) holiday gifts for multiple children referred through two local social service agencies.  NQMAF remains a major source of holiday assistance in the North Quabbin region of Worcester County.
  • St. Aspinquid MAF (North Berwick, ME) holiday gifts for multiple children at the Village Elementary School
  • Tahattawan MAF (Littleton, MA) fire relief for a family with two children
  • Wellesley MAF (Wellesley, MA) clothing/personal items for a high school student, eye exam/glasses for a thirteen-year-old boy, eye exam/glasses for a fourth grade girl and her first grade brother.
  • William Parkman MAF (Winchester, MA) clothing/personal item for a seventh grade girl, clothing/outerwear for fourteen children, holiday gifts for seven families.
  • Marine Lodge (Falmouth, MA) winter outerwear for multiple children, food certificates for several homeless families and eyeglasses for a middle school student.
  • Military Benevolences (Multiple MAF's and funds donated to the Foundation) - This year we provided holiday gifts for over 100 children referred through the USO New England Council.  Additionally, we have worked with individual military chaplains and several family service offices to provide assistance with specific situations, including families displaced by the New England ice storm, fire victims and other situations.  Our military assistance benevolences almost always represent a combined effort by various local Masonic Angel Funds and a fund that was set up at the Foundation specifically for assisting military families.
  • Masonic Angel Funds on Cape Cod - Every child on Cape Cod is under the wing of a Masonic Angel Fund.  This season all worked cooperatively to help families referred through the Foundation by regional organizations such as Head Start, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Interfaith Council for the Homeless.  As the birthplace of the Masonic Angel Fund program, Cape Cod is fortunate to have several very strong MAF's and a group of trustees that work well with each other to help out when regional social service organizations bring forward requests that spread across several different communities.
Please continue to submit your benevolence stories.  Everyone enjoys reading about the good work done by each Masonic Angel Fund.

 

 
Semi-Annual Reports for the Fall Semester Due January 31st
 
Semi-annual report packets will be mailed out sometime in early December.  The reports are exactly the same as they were last semester.  Please remember that the reports for July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 are due at the Foundation's office by January 31, 2009.  In addition to the mailed packet, the forms will be posted on our web site for download as soon as they are published.  Remember, the Foundation's grant programs require that a chapter be current and compliant with all reporting requirements in order to qualify to receive funds.
 
 
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.

 
 
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 info@masonicangelfund.org and we will pass them along to your colleagues.
 
Regards to all,
Robert W. Fellows, Co-Founder/Board Secretary
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.
info@masonicangelfund.org
www.masonicangelfund.org