As this year starts to wind down, many of our projects this year have begun to wrap up. This month we were able to have a packing party for our annual homeless relief kit project. On September 12th, more than a dozen of us, including some of the Job’s Daughters from Bethel #4, some family members, and some prospective candidates; showed up at the Lodge to assemble some 450 kits with thermal blankets, socks, basic hygiene equipment, and other useful items for those people who find themselves without shelter this winter in Portland.
Some of these kits went down to Operation Nightwatch downtown, and some will be going to their location in Southeast Portland as well. A smaller share, as well as the leftover toothbrushes, by special request, went to The Hereford House, a shelter in North Portland that WB Schuman has a relationship with through his church. I would like to thank everyone for their help, most especially WB Schuman for coordinating the project, BEA Ramirez for helping with the logistics and planning, and to those brothers and friends who donated their time and vehicles to helping set up the event.
It’s also important to thank the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of Oregon for matching 50% of our funds this year through its Creating a Partnership (CAP) program. This generous grant allowed us to expand our project from the previously planned 300 to the final 450+ kits we produced. The Grand Lodge’s support and encouragement is very much appreciated in our endeavors in the community. This year would not have been nearly so successful without their contribution.
Lastly, as part of the packing party, the brethren and guests of Friendship Masonic Lodge #160 raised roughly an additional $200 in direct donations, for the purpose of purchasing waterproof tarps to go to Operation Nightwatch. These are highly valued items to those without refuge from the Portland rain, and I truly appreciate all our friends and brethren who stepped up to give from their own pockets to those who need it.