More than 65,000 people were able to put food on the table this Christmas thanks to grants to 135 food banks across England and Wales from the Freemasons. Recipients include the Barton Area Food Bank and another in Grantham, which were each give £1,000. The Barton donation was the result of St Matthew Lodge securing a grant of £500 from the New Provincial Benevolent Fund, which was matched by the MCF. That donation was boosted by £200 from the Lodge of Established Order, which gave £200 to buy selection boxes to add to the grocery parcels.
Barton food bank volunteers give bags of groceries geared to the size of families, but always to provide a three-day food supply, topped up with cleaning products and products such as jars of coffee, which aren’t needed quite so often.
St Matthew Lodge Charity Steward Alan Muse (in the picture below) said his members had been only to pleased to help fulfil a need in the town.
The grants totalling £343,000 nationally were an important boost to foodbanks, which saw a surge in demand following the upheavals of the pandemic, continuing supply chain problems, and rising fuel bills.
Freemasons also made significant additional contributions to foodbanks during the lockdown period when there was also a very significant increase in demand from service users.
In addition to money, many local Freemasons have given their time over lockdown to help out with distributing food and other essential supplies to those need. This is continuing over Christmas, with many Freemasons working with local foodbanks to help deliver food to vulnerable people.
The grant from local Freemasons are financed jointly with the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.