Rochdale Freemasons go the extra miles to help those in need
Date published: 23 March 2021
Rochdale Freemasons district charity steward John Taylor with a car full of tins for the foodbank
The Rochdale District Freemasons have gone several extra miles to help those in need throughout the pandemic.
Shortly before the outbreak, district charity steward John Taylor introduced a novel initiative supporting the local foodbank – measuring each item of food donated to reach one mile.
That was a stretching target, to say the least, and to put it into perspective, there are 14,627 tins in a mile.
From the humble beginnings of a few items per week being donated, the ‘Miles More Food from the Freemasons’ campaign has really moved forwards with thousands of pounds and large quantities of food being donated over recent months.
The initial and aspirational target of one mile was surpassed in May, followed soon after with the 2020 metre point – marking the unprecedented last year – being passed too.
One year on, and financial and food donations have passed £10,000 and almost two and a half miles of food has been donated – the equivalent of over 36,500 tins stacked on top of each other.
One person donated two van loads of food, Hopwood Hall College donated hundreds of Easter eggs last year, and members of Hope Lodge made individual donations totaling over £2,000.
Each week John and his wife, Sue, visit local supermarkets and load up their car with essentials before delivering them to the foodbank.
Donations are shared between local foodbanks and a soup kitchen, allowing those in need to access the essential resources.
A dedicated bank account enables Freemasons and other supportive individuals to make donations, ensuring weekly shopping trips have continued throughout the pandemic.
In reviewing the last year, John and Sue are both delighted to have helped their local community.
John said: "Freemasons have been very generous with their donations and it's heartwarming to know we have collectively played our part in helping those in need."
Rochdale District Chairman Douglas Smith said with foodbanks across the UK and Rochdale being used more than ever, especially during the pandemic, that the fraternal society has been glad to help: "We are so glad that we can provide for families across Rochdale with food to get them through this current crisis.
“To John, Sue, the public and all the members of Rochdale, Todmorden and Bacup Freemasons, thank you so much for your generous contributions – your gifts have been incredible.
“Freemasons stand behind our core values of friendship, integrity, charity and respect and are proud to help so many in their time of need."
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