• This was the 16th Annual Matthews Alive Festival, however, I think the festival has been in existence much longer than that, but under another name. I want to say it was called Stumptown Festival, but I am not sure. The Masonic Charities for Kids display was there for the first time at the invitation of the Matthews Masonic Lodge. They have sold hamburgers and hot dogs, with all the trimmings, for many years in front of their lodge building, with great success, as we found out, when the public came looking for these men and their burgers.

  • The first discussion I had with Mike Warr PM on Tuesday, before the Festival started on Friday, was, their Lodge was going to place a 10X10 tent on the lodge grounds behind their two 20×20 tents for our display. I wondered about this arrangement, but, this was our first festival in Matthews and with the exhibit space sold out, we were satisfied going anywhere they told us because this festival draws big attendance.
  •  Jr. Harward PM and I arrived Friday morning to set up the display that he spent many hours building to accommodate the pictures from our charities, The Masonic Home for Children at Oxford NC, The Charlotte Scottish Rite Children’s Learning Center and the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children. Our sole purpose was to inform the public of these charities, not too raise money or increase membership in the fraternity. In making the public aware of our charities, we also wanted to dispel the notion of the secret organization, the sect or the cult idea.
  • Once we were ready to set up, Mike Warr PM said that the lodge had found the frame but, no top and he was personally going right then to buy us a tent. We could not let him do that so we asked about setting up in front of the lodge under the overhang on both sides of the entrance and were given permission to do that. Now this had to be providential as there was at least a 20 foot space between the lodge tent in the street and the one beside it which opened up to the yard and entrance of the lodge.The lodge opened their building up to the public and on the ground floor are rest rooms and a large dining hall. You can imagine the business these facilities received and we were there to hold the door. Sometimes folks were in a hurry when they came in but were less rushed when they came out. It did not matter where the public purchased their food they were still invited to come in, relax in the air conditioning and enjoy their food.
  • We manned our display from 6 to 10 pm on Friday August 29th, 9 am to 9 pm on Saturday the 30th, Sunday the 31st, 12 noon to 9pm and Monday, Labor Day 9 am to 5 pm. I have already mentioned Jr. Harward PM who worked the entire time. We were joined during the week-end by, Bob Bryant and Mike Elliott PM who helped sep up the display, Jim Adams, Carl Pinion, Max Walker PM, DDGM , Mack Archer, Gary Isenhour PM and John Elliott as well as John Hall, Jack Stegall PM, and Billy Kiser who stopped by.
  • The first person I talked to on Friday evening was a lady with a son who started fifth grade on Monday. She said he came home and told her he could not read as well as others in his class and he did not want to go back to school. She said, ”please, can the Scottish Rite Learning Center help him”? She was given the phone number of the Learning Center. One of our guys talked to a lady who came in to enjoy lunch with a child who had an obvious need for orthopedic help. She initiated the discussion and asked how to contact the hospital and we directed her through Oasis Shrine Center.
  • There is story after story of needs, and we make no guarantee or promise of help only that we can direct them to the place to start. I said earlier that we were not raising money for the charities or trying to increase membership in the fraternity, however many discussions seem to go back to someone’s father, grandfather, brother or uncle who was or is a Mason, a 32 degree Mason or Shriner. Through these discussions, we were privileged, to give Matthews Lodge the names of four men interested in becoming Masons. We will give to Mint Hill Lodge a name of a man who inquired about membership in the Mint Hill area as that is where he lives and knows of the activity of that lodge.
  • There are by-products of this effort, fellowship among Masons’ and many discussions of how we can do this better and more effective. It was brought to our attention that The York Rite Bodies should be a part of this effort and a contact has already been made with positive results. We look forward to their joining us. A steering committee is being formed and one of the first of many idea’s that will be presented to them is how do we take Masonic Charities for Kids into Parades?
  • Fraternally, Don Wilson
  • More Photos Here