In 2019, the Freemasons of Rochdale District embarked on an ambitious project to collect a “mile of food” for their local food bank. The initiative, dubbed “Miles More Food from the Freemasons,” aimed to collect 14,627 standard tins of food, a goal that seemed daunting in its early stages.
The project was the brainchild of district charity steward John Taylor, who sought to inspire his peers while providing much-needed support to the community. Despite the slow progress initially, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased the demand for food banks, prompting the Freemasons to redouble their efforts.
With in-person meetings suspended due to the pandemic, members were encouraged to donate the money they would have spent on meals to the food bank. This led to hundreds of pounds being donated each week, allowing Taylor and his wife Sue to liaise directly with the food bank to purchase and deliver essential items in short supply.
The Freemasons’ efforts were further bolstered by matched funding donations from the East Lancashire Masonic Charity and the national Masonic Charitable Foundation. In total, the amount of food donated equated to an impressive five miles, or over 73,000 tins.
Reflecting on the initiative, Taylor expressed pride in the Freemasons’ collective impact on their community. Douglas Smith, Rochdale District chairman, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the Freemasons’ commitment to their core values of friendship, integrity, charity, and respect.
The Freemasons’ dedication to charitable causes remains strong, with a continued focus on supporting food banks and soup kitchens. Despite the conclusion of the “Miles More Food from the Freemasons” initiative, their commitment to helping those in need remains unwavering.