C harity is at the heart of Freemasonry, and an opportunity to experience and understand what this means in practice to a Mason was demonstrated in January, when members of the Fitzwilliam Lodge were treated to a presentation at The Ellindon Masonic Centre, Peterborough, by two prominent members of the organisation in Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, writes Craig Bunday from the Peterborough Freemasons.
Firstly, Gerry Crawford, the Provincial Charity Steward, explained how The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) works. The MCF donates to hundreds of charities in the UK and also globally – specifically in the case of the latter with regard to emergency and disaster support throughout the world.
Gerry highlighted that it is important to note that Freemasons’ charity work is not just in the form of money, but also members give their time and support, and in some cases provisions and their own skills and services.
Financially in 2018, the MCF gave grants of almost £150,000 to charites in this area, with all of the money donated being raised from within the organisation – you will never see a Freemason with a collection tin or asking money from the public. The money is raised by general giving, at meetings and the support of specially organised events.
Coming back to the other areas of charitable giving, in the second part of the evening, Ged Dempsey gave a real example of Freemasonry in The Community by talking about the continuing successful work of the Three Pillars Feeding The Homeless charity.
Set up to provide help and support for the homeless in Peterborough three years ago, the charity evolved from a van offering support in the car park behind the Brewery Tap, with initially around 15 people receiving hot food, blankets, tents, and more importantly somebody to talk to.
Within weeks that figure had risen substantially, and now the food van regularly welcomes over 50 of their street friends on two nights each week. In addition, a most welcome aspect of the project is that it has successfully managed to help over 20 people get back into society, helping them to find accommodation, providing day to day supplies, and in some cases jobs. The charity has also been instrumental in housing six families and children, and has aided six victims of domestic violence, which is an ongoing commitment.
If you want to know more about Freemasonry in Peterborough, and The Three Pillars charity, please visit www.northants-huntsmasons.org.uk or call the Ellindon Masonic Centre on 01733 331948.
Pictured are Gerry and Ged in full flow at Ellindon