MAF Service Advisory - November 23,
Dear friend of the Masonic Angel Fund,
This is a
service advisory from Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. We issue these on
occasion when we have learned something that is of interest to those
operating subordinate Masonic Angel Funds and to the MAF community at large.
Over the past
few weeks here on Cape Cod we have noticed an increase in the number of
requests for grocery store gift cards. We always see a few of these during
the autumn but this year the volume is four or five times what we have seen
in past years.
was first noticed at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, where we
learned that many active duty military families have been disqualified from
the WIC public nutrition program due to a change in the way the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts computes their income. We have been told by the military
family services officers that food will become a paramount concern in the
near future, because the food pantries surrounding the base are severely
depleted due to the poor economy.
We next noticed
these concerns when working with the region's Head Start programs. The
Foundation office is the vortex for many regional MAF benevolences, such as
when Head Start is seeking assistance to provide Thanksgiving to families in
the various towns they serve. Head Start gives us the information for each
town and we pass it on to the local Masonic Angel Fund chapter. In
conversations with Head Start we hear the same concerns - food banks are
depleted and families are having difficulty purchasing the remainder of what
The last piece
of the puzzle fell into place here in Orleans the other day. We have been
helping the Universal Masonic Angel Fund with issuance and delivery of
checks while a couple of their trustees recover from surgery. On Thursday
we issued $800 for grocery cards at a single elementary school. Upon
speaking at length with the school nurse, we followed up with some of the
local churches that have food pantries as well as a regional human service
agency that works with all food pantries in the area. Once again we heard
that the food pantries are stretched far tighter than in previous years.
The people with who we spoke are very concerned about the winter.
Food has never
been a high-volume benevolence for
most Masonic Angel Funds. Families in need are traditionally
helped by food pantries. The
school professionals come to MAF for their clients'
other, non-nutritional needs. This winter it
appears that food may become one of the
primary areas where we can assist our children.
Masonic Angel Fund has decided to stop funding "second tier" benevolences
such as after school tuition and program fees. Until they see where the
demand is leading, they will fund primarily food, clothing and eyeglasses.
Certainly exceptions can be made but their main focus right now will be on
We advise that
all Masonic Angel Fund chapters reach out to their school contacts before
Thanksgiving in order to determine the food situation in your area. If you
are told by someone credible that everything is fine in the food arena, than
proceed on with your business as usual. However, if you learn that the same
concerns are cropping up in your community as we have seen here on Cape Cod,
we encourage you to adopt a similar "just the basics" position as Universal
Masonic Angel Fund.
Please let us
know what you find out when you speak with your school contacts
so that we can track the situation system-wide.
American Freemasons have been helping their
neighbors since 1733. We have risen to every challenge set before us. Rest
assured that our Masonic Angel Fund volunteers will do their very best to
take care of hungry families in the communities they serve.
Regards to all,