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Summit County Masons provide groceries to area families

1/9/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Bill Murphy
NEW FRANKLIN — On Dec. 21-22, more than 40 Freemasons and friends assembled and delivered more than 100 food baskets and food certificates to area families in need as part of the charitable work of the Masonic Assistance Program. 

Members of Summit County Masonic Lodges are shown above assembling food baskets Dec. 21 at Craftsman Park. 

The Masonic Assistance Program is a year-round charitable outreach sponsored by the Freemasons in Summit County and is designed to assist those in need. As part of this effort, a special holiday food delivery program provides groceries to families who might otherwise have very little food with which to celebrate the holidays.

Families were nominated by area churches, the Salvation Army, social service agencies and members of the Masonic Fraternity and included returning military veterans who require assistance. Holiday groceries were purchased and assembled by area Masons and then delivered to families in Summit, Medina, Portage, Cuyahoga, Stark, Wayne and Tuscarawas counties.

“This effort, which began over 23 years ago as a Christmas food basket program, has been expanded to a larger year-round helpful initiative,” said Jeff Burton, event chair. “It is consistent with the foundational beliefs of Freemasons, which are brotherly love, relief and truth.”

Special assistance was provided this year by Save A Lot No. 634, which helped with the purchase and loading of the food, and by Newell Rubbermaid, which donated the totes used to transport the canned goods and refrigerated items.

In addition to food donations, the 95,000 Freemasons in Ohio provide approximately $15 million in charitable giving annually, according to Bill Murphy, public relations chairman for the Akron Scottish Rite. This year, they gave $94,000 in college scholarships, contributed $200,000 to Ohio Summer Special Olympics and funded $70,000 in free training for hundreds of Ohio school teachers to recognize students at nonacademic risk. 

They also provided $12 million in elderly care and helped many families and individuals in need through their charitable foundation, according to Murphy. For additional information, go to www.freemason.com.

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