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December 2004

12/23 - Dover-Sherborn Press - Dover kids receive gifts from the Masons
This holiday season, the Masons of Massachusetts are assisting critical- and urgent-need children and families of deployed military personnel in Dover. Through the Masonic Angel Fund, which provides basic necessities to schoolchildren in need, the Masons have teamed up with the USO New England Council to provide holiday toys, clothing, games and gifts for several local children.
USO New England Executive Director Alice Harkins recently received thousands of dollars from the Masons to assist dozens of these children in an effort to give them a happy holiday. Harkins used the donations and funding to purchase as many toys, dolls, games, books, clothing, sports equipment and other gifts as possible through clearance sales, discounts and the cooperation of local merchants for the benefit of the children.
"These children and families face significant hardship, both financially and emotionally, during the holidays," said Harkins. "The Masons are constant supporters of the USO, and we truly appreciate their generosity as they provide the best of holiday experiences for children suffering as a parent is deployed. By providing these gifts, the Masons are bringing smiles to dozens of military families statewide."
The Masonic Angel Fund, a program of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, was founded in 1998 by John Alden Sherman and Robert W. Fellows, two members of Universal Lodge A.F. & A.M. in Orleans. It has spread to 90 lodges in 10 states. One of the fundamental principles of the MAF is that 100 percent of the money raised remains in that community and every penny goes to children.

12/20 - Marine Lodge MAF (Falmouth/Mashpee, MA)
The following request was received from the Morse Pond School today. According to MAF trustee Barry Panish, the Marine Lodge Masonic Angel Fund provided a total of $1,200 to help these six families through Christmas.
As with most of our experiences, the school staff at Morse Pond leverage MAF funds to provide the maximum retail yield for each dollar we provide.
Below are the words of the school professionals describing the families Marine Lodge helped today:

Family #1 - Family consists of a great grandmother raising three children ages 12, 11, 9 (2 boys, 1 girl) from two different relatives. We would like to help them with gifts and necessary clothing.
Family #2 - Family consists of mother and one son, ten years of age. The mother has lost her job in recent months and has few skills to compete in the job market. She is trying to work but having little luck. We would like to provide a Christmas for her and her special needs son as well as to get her gift certificates for food.
Family #3 - Family consists of mother and three boys, ages 17, 16 and 12. The father is in jail and is estranged from the family at this time. The mother is unable to work due to an injury from a fall and gets minimal assistance from state agencies. The older two boys help out as much as possible with part time jobs. This is a family that asks for very little. We would like to buy food, clothing and gift certificates for them.
Family #4 - Family consists of mother and four children, ages 14, 13, 10 and 8 (3 girls, 1 boy). The mother has several part time jobs and works very hard. The youngest child has severe special needs and requires a lot of care. It would be wonderful to relieve mom's stress by providing her family with presents and food for the holidays.
Family #5 - A foster child, age 11, who has returned to her Falmouth foster family because her transfer back to her mother was not successful. This child has been in DSS custody for many years and it does not look hopeful that her mother will be able to care for her. When sent back to Falmouth, the child had basically nothing with her. Even her toys and games were not returned. So, she has re-entered the foster home with very little. We would like to help the foster mother replace clothing items, winter coat, games...etc.
Family #6 - This family has three children, ages 12, 11 and 7. Once of the children has cancer and the medical bills have been staggering due to no health insurance. This family has normally not been financially stricken, but the medical costs and the family stress of a child with severe medical issues continuing, has been a big blow for this family. We are trying to help make their Christmas a wonderful time with presents and food...

12/19 - Artisan Lodge MAF (Winchendon, MA)
Artisan Lodge has funded the following Christmas benevolences to date:
$200. for gifts and party sponsorship for 32 children who are residents of a local subsidized housing project. The event was held at our Lodge with a visit from Santa.
$253. to sponsor athletic fees and hockey equipment for 2 foster students at the Middle School. Money was leveraged by contacting another community service group and obtaining some used equipment one of their members had which he donated.
$150. for USO Christmas packages for three children of Winchendon's deployed service people.
$138.17 for 20 sets of mittens and hats for Head Start students.
$825. for 11 needy families requested by our Memorial Elementary School nurse and guidance councilor.
Amount to date: $1566.17
Pat Doyle
Artisan Lodge MAF Trustee


12/16 - Needham Masonic Angel Fund (Needham, MA)
From Bro. Lawrence Trecartin, MAF trustee in Needham, MA…

As fate would have it, Deke [Eaton] and I were in Needham today working on the Christmas tree lot that Nehoiden and Norfolk lodges have each year as our main fund raiser. At lunch time, Deke's wife Nancy came to us with information that one of the school nurses was trying to get in touch with us. After lunch, instead of calling her, we drove directly to her school and spoke to her and two other nurses in her office. The information appears below. I had my “Angel Fund Bag” with me and was able to satisfy this request on the spot. This was by far the most troubling request, for me, which I have dealt with so far. The three nurses present were so thankful I honestly thought they were going to tears. This is one I will not forget for a while.

This request covers a high school girl and in part, her family. The mother is a single parent. There are three children at home. There is no father in the picture. The mother works for a very small salary, lives in subsidized housing and is not meeting her monthly bills. This request is for clothing for the children and for some food certificates. While we were interviewing the school nurse, we found out that this family was in such dire need; the school personnel was taking up a collection to help the family. Also while we were interviewing the school nurse, we found out that there was not going to be a Christmas tree in the home this Christmas. The two Masonic lodges in Needham run a Christmas tree lot with wreaths and all the trimmings. Hearing of this shortfall, we saw to it that a tree was made available for this family, obviously, free of charge. After discussion with the school nurse, it was decided $250.00 would supply clothing for the above student and cover some appropriate Christmas gifts for the family.

12/16 - Mount Horeb Lodge MAF (Dennis, MA)
MAF Trustee Jim St. Pierre reports that he received the request below Thursday (after school hours) from a nurse at one of his schools. He dropped off a check at the school first thing on Friday morning.

Hi Jimmie,
I am requesting help from the Mason Angels for a very special boy who is vision impaired. His vision specialist has given me a list of things that would be of great benefit to his growth and development.
Braille Watch 59.95
Talking Alarm Clock $9.97
Up Words Braille Game $29.95
Braille Read and Sing Talking Frog $46.00
Braile Uno Cards $ 10.75
The total is $156.64 plus shipping.

I realize that this is quite a large request. The child is very bright and would benefit greatly from these educational items. I also know that the family is unable to provide these things. Thank you so very much for any assistance that you are able to give.
Merry Christmas,
Fran


12/15 - Gardner MAF, Hope Lodge (Gardner, MA)
Dear Bob:
On Dec. 15, 2004 Gardner MAF, Hope Lodge, spent
$3485.27 for 83 coats, hats, and mittens for children in the Gardner and Templeton school districts. This is the fourth year in a row that Gardner MAF has assisted children in the area.
Best Holiday wishes to all,
Dave Crumbley
Editors Note: This represents $41.99 per child


12/12 - Mystic Valley Masonic Angel Fund, (Arlington, MA)
Good news, Brethren –
I had the great opportunity to spend an hour today journeying to/from the East Somerville Community School where I was able to hand deliver the check for $1000 from the Mystic Valley Masonic Angel Fund! It felt very nice being in that role. The faculty has identified several families in the area dependent on single parents to raise 4 or 5 kids each. In each case, the families are in the midst of some very serious financial challenges; so, rather than spread a single present to lots of families, they decided to really help out some folks that are on the verge of collapse. They interrupted a couple meetings so the principal, assistant principal and two guidance counselors could come out and express their appreciation for our support. Just thought I’d pass along a bit of the good feeling that I’m blessed to be able to witness directly …
Ted Wilson


12/5 - St John's Lodge (Newburyport, MA)
St. John's Lodge MAF continues its very busy stretch. Here are excerpts from some of their communiqués over the last two weeks
November 22 - This morning I received a call from the nurse at the Round School in Newbury, Ma., a 5th grade boy broke his glasses and is in need of a special pair and the nurse new the family has many children and are all ready on the Mass. Health Program. The optometrist just became familiar with the the "Angel Fund Program" in fact, I recently paid him a personal visit to explain the Fund. Having had the relationship established with personal touch, a simple call pledging $200 to cover this expense allowed the glasses to be ordered immediately. The Optometrist's secretary will receive the check today!
November 23 - $173.47 for a high school boy in need of winter clothing
November 24 - $100 to provide a necessary physical exam for a child with no medical coverage
November 29 -
Today, I was called by the nurse at the Nock Middle School in Newburyport. She asked if we could cover the cost to purchase bus fare for a special needs student that comes to Newburyport from Amesbury. We had helped back in September for the first couple of months and now this is a continuation of the same. She explained that this is a family in great need and the child is best served by the Newburyport special ed program. A check was written $180 to cover fare for the rest of the school year. My daughter will deliver the check to the nurse in person tomorrow.
November 30 - "Winter jackets, gloves, boots...etc." for twin boys in the eighth grade and their sister in the fifth grade - $416.41.
December 1 - $400 at TJ Maxx to cover winter clothing and outerwear for four students from the Solstice School in Rowley. The nurse will take the children shopping.
Fraternally
Brother Rob Roy, Trustee - MAF #63
St. John's Lodge, Newburyport, Ma.