By Kelly Hughes
Grand Master Washington State 2017-2018
Originally printed in the Washington Odd Fellow.
As I sit here writing this letter for the newspaper, I think about the holidays. I received several wonderful gifts from family, but the most precious of all was time. Mother and I had my nephew and his wife and daughter, as well as my son and his girlfriend over. We had a great evening together with food, laughter, and love filling the house. In my opinion, their time was worth more than all of the physical gifts.
This made me think about what we can do as Odd Fellows. So often I hear from lodges, “We just don’t have the money.” It doesn’t cost more than the gas it takes to drive to a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or even a shelter. Visiting the sick, relieve the distressed. . . Do these ring any bells? For those lodges that do have money, it seems it is so easy to just throw a check at it. But the money is no good if someone isn’t there to use it to provide relief.
My mother and I sat and created more than 100 goodie bags with snacks and some chocolate to hand out at a soup kitchen. We talked about how it was nice to be able to do something for others, even if it was only a small token. We found out that the free meals were going to stop on Sundays as no one would volunteer to cook. However, when we got there to drop off the goodies, a man has stepped up and is going to make sure the home- less are fed. This group is all volunteer, from the food donations to serving and even washing dishes. I am sure that there are numerous other similar organizations that could use the gift of time.
So what has your lodge done lately? What have you done lately?
We can’t expect people to know who we are if we hide behind a check once a year. If people don’t know who we are, how can we expect them to join? Gone are the days where the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs can hide our good deeds behind the curtain or under the rug. We need to show people who we are by what we do. People are not going to join to come to meetings, pay bills, and go home. The younger generations want to be active and doing something.
It is time we get off our collective rear ends and get back to work!