Ilwaco Masonic Lodge No. 48 F&A.M.
Occident Lodge No. 48 Ilwaco Washington
Appeal From M W Chris J. Coffman
Grand Master, F&AM of WA
Now abideth Faith, Hope and Charity, these three, but the greatest of these is Charity. This scripture from the Fellowcraft degree is particularly fitting at the start of this Masonic year. While we cannot meet on the level as we would like, there are still charitable acts that we can do for the betterment of our Craft, our Brothers, and our Communities. This year I am emphasizing a few charitable endeavors that I hope the Brothers will embrace.
First, I am encouraging Brothers to donate $40 to Washington Masonic Charities sometime during the year. This is the same challenge that MWB Charles Wood made last year. The amounts received will be split between the On the Level, Student Success program and the Washington Masonic Charities’ endowment fund.
The “On the Level, Student Success” program helps with keeping homeless in high school. The cost to society of students who do not graduate from High School is tremendous. The percentage who end up in the criminal justice system is staggering. If we can in some small part help these children, who through no fault of their own are struggling to remain in school and put food in their mouths, then it is an investment that visualizes the future.
The Washington Masonic Charities endowment fund is another investment in the future. When you contribute to an endowment fund, the income from your gift and all the others is used to support the charity forever.
Second, this year we have ties, coins and pins. The profit from the ties and coins and any donations received from pins will be used to support the Shriner’s Hospital in Spokane and the Seattle King County Health Clinic’s Vision Program. We are all aware of the great work done by the Shriner’s Hospitals and supporting the one located in our great state seems like a no-brainer.
Many of you are unfamiliar with The Seattle King County Health Clinic’s Vision Program which is an annual event. My late wife, Lynn, was the coordinator for this project for several years. The February 2020 vision program was dedicated to her memory. This year’s clinic provided free eye exams and prescription eyeglasses to almost 1,100 patients. The free vision services were valued at over $550,000. These patients came from areas far and wide, not just King County. Some of these patients had not had an eye examination in several years.
Third, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of our Brothers and their families. Some have been laid off or furloughed, others have become ill. The federal CARES act provided some assistance through the stimulus payments and extended unemployment benefits. There has been a prohibition on evictions for renters. But these forms of assistance only go so far and when they end, the need will still be there. Following the lead of the Grand Lodges of California and Oregon, Washington Masonic Charities has created a new fund to help these Brothers and their families. To donate to this very worthy cause go to https://www.wa-masoniccharities.org/ and click on the donate button and select COVID-19 Relief Fund. Any amount you can donate will help. If you are in need of assistance contact Washington Masonic Charities at (844) 288-3531.
Remember the Past, Visualize the Future.
Chris Coffman, Grand Master