Freemasonry During The Pandemic
By Wyoming Lodge (Melrose, MA)
One Lodge is using the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to strengthen its relationship with members, raise money for a good cause, and support a local, Masonic-friendly business.
Like hundreds of Lodges across the state, Wyoming Lodge in Melrose halted its regularly scheduled activity when non-essential business and organizations were ordered to close in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Just because the electric lights were off in our building didn’t mean the Lodge had gone dark, or that we were finished,” said Wor. Dave Fletcher, Master of Wyoming Lodge. “As Masons, it’s our duty to support each other and our community and we knew that this pandemic was an opportunity to really step up as a Lodge.”
One of the Brothers came up with a simple idea.
“It started because I wanted to let our older Brothers know the Lodge was thinking of them while also helping out Razzy’s, our caterer, who like many other small businesses was impacted by the crisis,” said Bro. Mike Nachshen, Wyoming Lodge’s Inside Sentinel. “Some of the other officers and I explored several ideas, and ultimately came up with what we jokingly refer to as Operation: Make Masons Gain Weight.
The idea was simple, but impactful.
First, have Razzy’s deliver baked goods to as many Masons and ladies of the Lodge (aka widows) in the local area as possible. Then, offer Masons and ladies an opportunity to purchase a meal from Razzy’s, with a portion of the proceeds of the meal supporting local COVID-19 charitable efforts.
“The cookie delivery lets us connect with our local Brethren and ladies, and lets them know that we are thinking of them, while also helping Razzy’s out,” said Fletcher. “While ideally we’d have liked to deliver to all our members and ladies, because of the pandemic we could only reach those who live near the Lodge.”
To pay for the cookies, the officers passed the virtual hat, and tapped some rainy-day Lodge funds.
“I was pleased, but not surprised by everyone’s generosity,” Fletcher said. “Our Brothers were doing their part to flatten the curve by staying home, but our Officers aren’t the kind of men who like sitting on the sidelines. When presented with an opportunity to do something, they jumped at it.”
Razzy’s started baking up a storm, and set about making deliveries.
“My mother was thrilled when a box full of cookies and brownies showed up at her door,” said the son of one of the Lodge’s ladies, R.W. David Lucas, past Deputy Grand Master and a member of Wyoming Lodge. “And I had the same reaction when my goody box arrived. It was a physical reminder that the Lodge was thinking of us.”
Included with the box of baked goods was a letter from the Officers emphasizing that the Lodge was here for them. And at the bottom of the letter, was an offer that was almost impossible to refuse.
Brothers and ladies were given an opportunity to purchase a hot meal – or meals, which Razzy’s would deliver right to their door. The Lodge would shared the proceeds of the meal with Razzy’s, with the Lodge’s portion going directly to the Melrose Emergency Relief Fund to help local people impacted by COVID-19.
“This was a win-win-win,” said Nachshen. “People got to enjoy a great meal, they helped out a local business, and we made people’s lives a little better during these trying times.”
The meal fundraiser was so successful that the Lodge is doing it again.
“We’re giving people an opportunity to have Sunday dinner together,” said Fletcher. “It’s a simple way to stay connected with our members, while making a positive difference in our community on many levels.”