With many families struggling to put food on the table Freemasons across England and Wales are currently working on hundreds of initiatives to help minimise the daily pressure on households across the UK.
During this difficult time, the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, formed the Covid-19 Response Group to support those in need. The group identified food banks and people in vulnerable situations in need of help and set about galvanizing its network to provide food donations, deliveries, cooking fresh meals; as well as opening up local Lodges’ kitchens to cook meals.
Freemasons have been rolling up their sleeves and helping nationwide. In Bristol, 14 volunteer Freemasons are packing and labelling food parcels which are being delivered to those suffering food poverty. In Bedfordshire, Freemasons provided 11 tonnes of food in May alone.
Elsewhere, food banks in North Cumbria, Windermere, Penrith and South Lakes are being supported with a £24,000 donation from Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons. In addition, Worcestershire Freemasons helped six food banks and donated food and refreshment to NHS staff at the local Alexandra Hospital.
In Warwickshire, the Freemasons have donated £18,000 to the Fairshare Foodbank and Warwickshire foodbanks. While in Wiltshire, they are delivering to more than 30 homes and the list is growing every week.
While in Middlesex, they donated £41,000 and are providing meals 2,500 meals per week. According to their projections, Middlesex Freemasons will be providing more 45,000 meals to help vulnerable people.
In Norfolk, Somerset, South Wales, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Durham, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Staffordshire, East Lancashire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, Cornwall, Monmouthshire, Somerset, Lincolnshire, Herefordshire, Jersey and Sussex, local Freemasons are preparing meals and packages of food to be distributed to residents.
Freemasons are also supporting the NHS. In Yorkshire, each week they are preparing and delivering 80 ready-packed meals (20kg), to the late-shift emergency services at Dewsbury’s hospital. They are also delivering 300 meals to local elderly housing every week. Since March, Derbyshire Freemasons have provided more than 1,000 meals at masonic centre kitchens, with 30 Freemason volunteers ensuring that they receive freshly prepared and tasty meals. In addition, Nottinghamshire Freemasons are helping 1,000 families each week.