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"Angel Mail" Update - December 27, 2009

Holiday Wrap-Up 2009

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

140 Acacia Masonic Angel Fund North Augusta SC 07/3/2009

Since the Universal Masonic Angel Fund carries the designation of MAF #0, this places us at 141 Masonic Angel Funds in thirteen states.

Both Benevolence Builder Grant Series Continue

Both current Benevolence Builder Grant (BBG) series continue.  The "St. Andrew BBG" series is for Masonic Angel Fund's in Massachusetts and offers 50% replenishment of benevolences with a limit of $1,000 per MAF chapter.  The "Founders' Fund BBG" series is for MAF's outside Massachusetts that belong to our group exemption.  It also provides 50% replenishment up to a limit of $1,000.

Each grant series is slated to run through January but will conclude early if the allocated funds have been expended.  Do not hold your benevolence submissions.  Submit them immediately via email or telephone to ensure that your grant is funded.

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 and to the friends and family of John Alden Sherman for establishing the Founders' Fund.

MAF and the Military
We take great pride in the Masonic Angel Fund's consistent commitment to helping the families of our men and women in the armed services.  This is the eighth year that we have worked with groups like the USO/New England, military family service groups, the Veterans Outreach Center and the military chaplains' corps.
This month the Masonic Angel Foundation and several local Masonic Angel Fund chapters joined forces with a very generous private foundation donor to provide Christmas gifts for 105 children from 53 families. 
November and December were also our busiest months ever with the family services and chaplains' offices at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.  Virtually all of the requests from those two offices were for groceries and for clothing.  Special thanks go to Bill and Joanna Reade along with Don and Deb Kochka for making themselves available to purchase and deliver gift cards on just a moment's notice.
Last month Lt. Col. William F. Reade, Jr. (USAR, Ret.) and I traveled to the Massachusetts Military Reservation to meet with family service personnel from military units all over eastern Massachusetts.  The message from them was clear:  many enlisted military personnel are unable to feed their families this year.  Especially hard-hit are the National Guard and reservists who were called up from their civilian jobs with a resulting loss of household income.   Every professional who spoke with us expressed a need for alternate means of providing food.  Apparently the military families are patronizing the local food banks to an extent that the food pantries are running out of food.   This explains why the huge increase in requests for grocery cards.
As we told the military last month, MAF cannot feed the whole military but we will do the best that we can with the resources available to us.
On a happier note, Universal Lodge in Orleans, MA paid for the food and entertainment so that the military could hold a Christmas party for all the kids who were to receive gifts this year.  Toys for Tots provided toys, various MAF's in the area (plus the Foundation's donor) paid for grocery and clothing vouchers and the Universal Lodge Charity and Benevolent Fund sponsored the party.
We also note that Mount Horeb Lodge in Dennis, MA provided Christmas trees to 30 military families as part of their "Masonic Dream" program which saw approximately 90 trees given to families in need.
Benevolence Stories
2009 was a challenging year for all Masonic Angel Funds.  With the ever-worsening economy, we have all seen an incredible increase in benevolence requests.  We have also noticed that most requests are for food or clothing this year, which is a bit of a departure from prior year. 
Food has never been a big part of our suite of benevolences, as it has been covered through local food banks and other groups.  This year things have turned a lot different.  If you have not already seen our SERVICE ADVISORY on food requests, please be sure you read it.
Below is a representative sampling of recent benevolences:
Artisan Lodge (Winchendon, MA) - Provided USO Christmas packages to four local children and over $2000 in gifts for multiple local children's holiday gifts.
Azure MAF (Walpole, MA) - Provided Big Sisters Christmas packages to two local girls
Boston First Fund (Boston, MA) - Multiple holiday gift packages through Big Sisters of Greater Boston and holiday gifts for approximately fifteen children served by the Roxbury Department of Youth Services.
Cochichweick MAF (North Andover, MA) - Holiday gifts for students at North Andover High School plus youth center program fees for five children as well as athletic user fees for a senior at North Andover High School.
Haverhill MAF (Haverhill, MA) - Provided USO Christmas packages for five local children.
John Cutler MAF (Abington, MA) - Eyeglasses for three children and basketball fees for one.
Joseph Warren-Soley Lodge MAF (Lincoln, MA) - USO Christmas packages for 15 local children.
Level MAF (Shrewsbury/Worcester, MA) - Provided winter coats for multiple children, USO Christmas packages for three children, clothing for two children, clothing for three children, clothing for three more kids/
Marine Lodge MAF (Falmouth, MA) - Program fees, eyeglasses for two children, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Christmas packages, holiday gifts for twelve kids, eyeglasses for two children.
Mariner's MAF (Cotuit, MA) - Big Brothers/Big Sisters Christmas packages for thirteen children, holiday gifts for an additional nine children
Mount Horeb MAF (Dennis, MA) - Thanksgiving packages for 13 local families through the local Head Start program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Christmas packages for our children,
Mount Washington Valley MAF (North Conway, NH) - Clothing and food cards for multiple families, clothing and personal items to a displaced family.
Mt. Carmel MAF (Lynn, MA) - Provided assistance to three children who lost everything in an apartment fire and provided holiday gifts for multiple children referred through a local church program.
Mystic Valley MAF (Arlington/Somerville, MA) - Provided Big Sisters Christmas package to eight local kids and provided Christmas gifts to over 40 children in Somerville.
North Quabbin MAF (Athol, MA) - Christmas gifts for over 40 children.
Olive Branch MAF (Millbury, MA) - Provided assistance with after school tuition and participated with other charities in the purchase of a specialized wheelchair for a profoundly disabled child.  Olive Branch also provided funding for some emergency therapy sessions for a severely depressed child.
Oxford MAF (Oxford, MA) - Participated with other charities in the purchase of a wheelchair for a disabled child.
Simon W Robinson MAF (Lexington, MA) - USO Christmas packages for 15 children at Hanscom Air Base.
Somerville MAF (Somerville, MA) - Provided the funds for Big Sisters holiday gifts for two local girls.
St. Alban's MAF (Foxboro, MA) - Funded the acquisition of winter coats for FORTY local children.
St. Aspinquid's MAF (North Berwick, ME) - Provided holiday gifts to three families referred by the local school.
Universal MAF (Orleans, MA) - Provided Thanksgiving dinner packages to thirteen local families through the Head Start programs on Cape Cod, provided clothing/food to multiple families, after school tuition assistance for one child,
Weymouth MAF (Weymouth, MA) - Provided Big Sisters Christmas packages to several local kids.
Semi-Annual Reports for the Fall Semester Due January 31st
Semi-annual report packets will be mailed out sometime in December. The reports are exactly the same as they were last semester. Please remember that the reports for July 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009 are due at the Foundation's office by January 31, 2010. In addition to the mailed packet, the forms will be posted on our web site for download as soon as they are published.  Note that group exemption members were notified in September that there are now late fees charged to those members that do not file their reports by the deadline.  The forms are available for download on our web site.

Military Benevolence Program
A reminder, if you have any children of military personnel who are deployed or were 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 and we will pass them along to your colleagues.

Regards to all,
Robert W. Fellows, Co-Founder/Board President
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.