The Masonic Angel Fund is just concluding its tenth
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
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.
Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Robert W. Fellows
Benevolence Builder Grants
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
These grant series will both continue until January 31st and will end
sooner if allocated funds are exhausted.
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
- 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
- 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
- King Hiram Lodge MAF
(Provincetown, MA) provided holiday gifts for seventeen local
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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