By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The Masons at the Belton Masonic Lodge #166 continued their tradition of delivering Christmas Baskets, containing approximately $100 worth non-perishable food, a handmade blanket, and a smoked turkey, to 10 families in Belton on the morning of Saturday, December 23.
“We started this tradition about 10 or 11 years ago, with 10 baskets. We were only able to get a few things into each basket back then. This project has grown immensely over the years,” explained Monty England. “We still provide baskets for 10 families. However, we can fill each box with more items now.
Lodge members meet at Sam’s Club to purchase the food items on the 19th, before heading back to the Lodge to divide the things up among the family baskets. The turkeys are all smoked by Vernon Tedrow.
“I started smoking the turkeys at about 5 p.m. yesterday evening, and they cooked all night. The families that we are delivering Christmas Baskets to are receiving a warm, freshly cooked, turkey,” explained Tedrow.
Continuing a genuine and meaningful community service tradition such as this requires planning and budgeting. The Belton Masonic Lodge #166 receives that names of the families from outside sources. Ensuring the correct allocation of resources to continue the project each year can be challenging.
“Most of the Christmas Baskets recipients are very grateful. We had one lady cry last year. I enjoy seeing the reception of the gift – seeing people happy – that makes this project so meaningful to me,” explained Jim Cummins.
The Lodge hold their formal stated meetings on the second Thursday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. The work meetings are every Thursday at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in getting more information can attend any Thursday meeting.
“We are a faith-based organization but not a religion. We are about community and making each other better. I believe that the average person wants to be part of a community like Belton – we have such a great, wholesome, small town. Our community is remarkable,” explained Ron Zimmerman, Master of Belton Masonic Lodge #166.