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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scottish Rite Bodies and Louisiana Flood Disaster Relief

Your Scottish Rite is pledging more than $1 million in disaster relief to help Freemasons affected by the massive flooding in Louisiana. The crisis is described by the American Red Cross as the "worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy" in 2012. 
"The incomprehensible level of destruction in Louisiana has damaged and destroyed more than 40,000 homes," said Sovereign Grand Commander, John William McNaughton. "Many of our Brother Masons and their families are among the 70,000 persons displaced in this disaster." 
In response to the crisis, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction immediately issued $100,000 in debit cards that recipients can use for urgent needs such as food and clothing. "During Hurricane Sandy, we learned that accessing cash is a real problem for the displaced," said Commander McNaughton. "Our Brothers in Louisiana who are leading Masonic relief efforts tell us the same is true in this situation. We have Brothers who are without homes, cars, clothes, food, work places, churches, and do not know what today or tomorrow will bring. Many have lost almost everything." 
In addition, a pledge of $1 million for construction assistance has been made from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. "This will help Louisiana Freemasons, their widows and their families rebuild," said the Commander. "Recovery is expected to take months, if not years. We will work closely and deliberately with the Southern Jurisdiction to ensure these funds are used to help our Brothers put their lives back together. The vision of our Fraternity remains firmly committed to the most fundamental of our values--caring for one another. "
The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction is also organizing the shipment of bottled water and other supplies to be delivered to the ravaged area, as the need for clean water is great.  
If you would like to donate to the relief effort and help others in this stricken jurisdiction, please send your contribution to:
Louisiana Flood ReliefScottish Rite Almoner's Fund PO Box 519Lexington, MA 02420
You can also donate online at this link. Please indicate "Louisiana Flood Relief " in the additional instructions section on the page.

The Scottish Rite notice went on to describe an even greater need than the financial one. The Louisiana Masonic community is in dire need of help. In addition to immediately needed supplies listed here, the greatest need is for volunteers. This message was relayed from the Southern Jurisdiction:
Cars are destroyed and many Brethren cannot get to stores or to doctor appointments. It is nearly impossible to rent a car, and ATM machines are not working in most areas. Crews are needed to rip out drywall, remove mud and dirt, and push out water. Volunteers are also needed to cook and to check on our Brethren in various neighborhoods. 
If you can give a few days, or even a week or two, please be in touch. You will be fed and housed in a Shrine building with only Masonic Brothers and Sisters. 
The Masons in Louisiana are in great despair. They need hope, and you can help provided that. The generosity of spirit you show in this time of need will bless you in return a thousandfold. 
What to Do if You Have the Time to Deploy
Visit the Southern Jurisdiction website at this link for up to date information on supplies needed, and other details you need before you deploy. 
Who to Contact:
Please call before you leave your home to head out for the disaster relief operation, and  then again when you get to Baton Rouge. 

Joseph Ryan
(717) 623-7578
Carle Jackson
(225) 938-3552
Where to Go: Acacia Shrine Temple
7991 Commerce Ave,
Baton Rouge, LA 70815 

Note that these appeals, programs and funds are all in addition to the separate Disaster Appeal For Louisiana organized by the Masonic service Association. 

Finally, in an unrelated situation, the NMJ's Sovereign Grand Commander McNaughton has asked Active Member and Deputy for Indiana Gail N. Kemp to work with the Grand Lodge of Indiana to identify Masons and their families who may need assistance after a large tornado struck in and around Kokomo, Indiana yesterday. A state of emergency was declared in Howard County after the tornado destroyed businesses and dozens of homes there. Please contact the Grand Lodge office in Indianapolis at 877-247-MASON.

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