Freemasonry in the Community
Contrary to popular opinion Freemasons do not just look after themselves, almost half of their Charitable giving goes into the community worldwide. In fact in England only the National Lottery provides a greater amount for charity than the members of the United Grand Lodge of England.
When a natural disaster strikes, such as an earthquake The Grand Charity will normally donate at least £25,000 for relief aid within 48 hours.
What is wrong with looking after our own anyway? The medieval guilds, on which Freemasony is largely based had two main aims, to control the standards of workmanship of their members and to support those suffering hard times, surely the forerunner of insurance? Nobody thinks that insurance is wrong! Does your insurer pay out to anyone not insured with it? We do!
The English Freemasons in Portugal have long been involved in the Community. Ten years ago the Group provided funding for local English speaking schools in both the Algarve and Greater Lisbon to receive booklets from the RIDE Foundation on its Drugs Awareness and Lifestyle teaching. This is still continuing, now sponsored by the company of one of our brethren.
All our Lodges give every year to one or other of the four principal Masonic Charities as well as supporting local charities. In the last couple of years donations have been made to such well deserving causes as Help for Heroes spearheaded by one of our members whose grandson’s brother in law was twice injured in Afghanistan, the second time losing an arm and both legs. He is still serving in the Army whilst having alternate spells of rehab and duty and his ambition is to return to duty full time.
At Christmas in the Algarve one of the lodges has had a “shoe box” campaign where toiletries have been put in a shoe box and handed in for distribution amongst the poor. In Lisbon 300 towels were bought for a home for mentally disadvantaged men and women and used clothing is being collected for donating to that home. Over the last 15 years or so, but not every year, donations have been given to the SOS Children’s’ Home in Bicesse.
Other organisations to benefit are the Bombeiros, Vela sem Limites (sailing for the disabled), a small charity looking after children affected by AIDS, in fact most of them are small local organisations rather than national ones.