2007 is the Year of Giving for Friendship Lodge
WB David Hubbs, as the new Master of Friendship Lodge No. 33 in Southington wanted to have a project that would give back to the community. But once he began to discuss his ideas with others, he discovered that he could improve those projects by enlisting the help of others. By the time of his installation in January, WB Hubbs had developed a three phase plan which he called “The Year of Giving,” a plan that has been endorsed by the Grand Master, MWGM Charles B. Fowler himself.
WB Hubbs has broken the year up into three phases. The first phase, called “Open Your Hearts,”is spearheaded by WB Julian Shull and will last until June 30th, and involves the collection of personal care items for the soldiers overseas, and also to collect supplies for the schools our troops have been setting up in in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The second phase is geared to benefit those closer to home as Friendship Lodge will host a clothing drive. From June 1st to September 30th Bro. Doug Hageman will set up collection points for people to donate gently used coats and other clothing.
The third phase of the program will be to collect toys for the children of those people incarcerated by the criminal justice system. WB David Edman will be organizing these collections from September 1st until December 15th.
Most of January was taken up with planning for the first collection organized collection day on February 10th. Realizing the importance of getting as much community support as possible, WB Hubbs organized a number of local civic groups. The first planning sessions saw a joint effort with both Masonic and other groups. Representatives from the Order of Eastern Star (Frederica 110) were joined by the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, Lions Club International (Southington and New Britain), Knights of Columbus Council 25, BPO Elks Lodge 1669 (Southington), the Improved Order of Redmen – Wonx Tribe 28, the Sons of Italy, and members of the Southington Chamber of Commerce to coordinate the publicity campaign and the pickup and storage facilities.
Drop boxes had been placed at various stores and businesses in the Southington area, and fliers had been distributed to let people know about the program, and on Saturday Feb. 10th the plans came together as the first of several public collection days took place. Volunteers stationed themselves at Stop & Shop, CVS, Walmart, Ocean State Job Lot, and several other stores, while others went to the public library, the Southington Town Hall, the YMCA, and other sites that had collection boxes. The American Legion Post became the central point at which the larger containers were packed before being brought to a local storage facility. By the end of the day, the Open Your Hearts group had collected 2,500 pounds of personal care items and school supplies. The Sons of Italy donated $250, and several other people likewise donated money toward the purchase of more goods, while Pratt & Whitney collected 500 pounds and the UConn Medical Center collected 350 pounds. Several other lodges around the state, including Fredrick-Franklin No. 14, Sequin-Level No. 140 and Corinthian No. 103 have also made contributions. Additionally, the American Legion found a way to have the good shipped by military transport, instead of having to go by mail or other carrier.
WB Hubbs has issued a challenge to other lodges and groups around the state to join him in this project. The next public collection day will be April 14th. WB Shull has guidelines for the donations.
For the troops: Cookies, Pop Tarts, microwave popcorn, microwaveable packaged meals, beef jerky, Pringles chips (no bag chips, please), baby wipes, foot or anti-fungal powders, Stick-up air fresheners, breakfast bars, small flashlights or headlamps, ramen noodles, small pillows, small personal toys (Frisbees, hackey-sacks, puzzles, etc.), Game Boys, and batteries (AAs mostly, but AAA and D are needed).
For the children: School supplies – pens, pencils, sharpeners, crayons, markers, stamps and ink pads, rulers, pads, paper, solar calculators, coloring books. Toys – small cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, Slinkys, and small electronic toys (with batteries). Hygiene items – toothbrushes, toothpaste, bar soap (in plastic bags), combs, brushes, washcloths. Personal items – hard candy and gum, mints, t-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with batteries). Please do not include war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military action figures.
Those wishing to donate items should also make sure not to include used or damaged items, glass or glass containers, pork products, aerosol cans, chocolate, liquids or lotions, medications, drugs, or vitamins, easily breakable items, or edible items that are out of date, or will be out of date within 90 days of collection date.