Beacon - Thanksgiving arrived a little early for about 300 local residents.
Thanks to the efforts of the Free Masonry, Hebron Lodge No. 48 F&AM Prince Hall of Beacon, 300 residents, from primarily Beacon, as well as Newburgh, Fishkill, Wappingers Falls and Hopewell Junction, were recently able to feast upon dinners, containing turkey or ham, along with all the trimmings. The event, conducted by the Free Masonry, the oldest existing fraternity in the country, has been taking place for the past thirty years. Its recipients, including senior citizens, the homeless, and others in need, not only appreciate the home cooking, but the personal door-to-door delivery touch.
"The masons are all about charity and giving to the community," said 41-year veteran Mason, Worshipful Master Dan McEachin of Hopewell Junction, as he configured the remaining local drop off spots Saturday. "The people we deliver these dinners to are just so appreciative, smiling and thanking us; we often receive many letters from them in the mail."
The local Mason chapter, which prides itself on giving, is composed of about 50 members. Many of them are directly acquainted with or know of the recipients via churches and other community organizations. After gathering a ballpark account of how many are in need, the Masons set to work, baking ten 22-pound turkeys, two hams, and trays laden with stuffing, mashed potatoes, string beans, collards, rolls and pumpkin pie - all paid for compliments of the Masons. The volunteers met up at McEachin’s house, devoting two full days to cooking. Saturday, the group reconvened in Beacon, on 215 Main Street, at Troy’s Craftsman’s Serious Soul Food. Equipped with large ladles, they headed to Troy’s back kitchen, and in assembly line fashion, filled up styrofoam eatery, proceeding to place them in boxes. Then, from the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rotating groups piled up their cars with the goodies, arriving to recipients with the much appreciated food, along with holiday cheer.
"Today is our cornerstone event for the organization, that demonstrates the true meaning of our organization giving back," explained Beacon resident Lambright, a Mason since 1995, who had just arrived back to Troy’s with some eating accessories, ready for another pickup. "It’s just so nice to see how grateful the recipients are to have the meals delivered."
In addition to Saturday’s Thanksgiving meals, Hebron Lodge No.48 F&AM Prince Hall extends their altruistic gestures throughout the year. Many of those contributions are aimed towards children. An Easter Egg Hunt takes place the Saturday before Easter, while the annual Family Picnic is held at Bowdein Park in August.
Next up for the Lodge during this busy holiday season is their Children’s Christmas Party, slated for December 11th, where Troy’s Craftsman’s Serious Soul food is again expected to be the setting.