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Monday, January 06, 2020

Virginia Lodge Pays Off Local School Lunch Debt


For at least two centuries, local Freemasons were regularly seen as an integral part of the  communities in which they resided. But after the dawn of the 21st century, that image has drifted out of the public "common knowledge" that used to bind cities and towns together in civic participation. That doesn't mean your local lodge can't get back on your town's radar - not by a long shot. 

In case you are under he misapprehension that I'm arguing for plundering your treasury, "making a difference" usually takes far more initiative and imagination than money. Consider this story out of Bluefield, Virginia today from the local NBC affiliate. 

The local lodge - Harman Lodge 222 - just voted unanimously to pay off the unpaid school lunch debts for two local schools, and send donations to two local career centers. The total tab? Just $1,000. But Bluefield residents have just been reminded that the Masons are alive and well and dedicated to helping their neighbors and children.

From the WVVA website:

BLUEFIELD, Va. (WVVA) - Harman Masonic Lodge # 222 in Bluefield, VA made a decision at their January chapter meeting. 
The Lodge voted unanimously to pay off unpaid school lunch balances for Dudley Primary School and Graham Intermediate School in Bluefield, VA.  
Unpaid meal debt at our local schools is a growing trend and we feel like no child should have to worry about not having enough money to eat lunch.  
Grat Slade, Harman Masonic Lodge #222 member
The Lodge will also donate $500 towards Graham High School’s unpaid lunch debt.  
They also voted to donate $250 to the Tazewell County Career and Technical Center and $250 to the McDowell County Career and Technical Center.  
This money will be used for their Skills USA program.  This is a nationwide competition that requires the schools to pay for lodging, food and transportation for the students.  
I would like to urge all local organizations, businesses and churches to consider donating to Graham High and Graham Middle School to pay down the debt for unpaid school lunches. As a community, we can help these children concentrate on their school work, and not how much they have in their pockets.  
Grat Slade, Harman Masonic Lodge #222 member 
In addition to monetary donations, the Lodge is currently planning a litter pick up day closer to the end of winter.  
We are excited for the year ahead of us and hope to make our communities better. 
Grat Slade, Harman Masonic Lodge #222 member


This is nothing new for Harman Lodge. In the past, the lodge has also provided small scholarships for local high school students, as well as funding other local causes. 



Bluefield is unique, as it straddles the Virginia/West Virginia state line. For a brief time, the Virginia-side town was actually named Harman, after the death of local Civil War hero, Colonel Edwin Houston Harman. The lodge was established in 1866, and also named in his honor.

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