Freemason put hand on heart to give back to community
WHILE there are a great many mysteries surrounding the Freemason fraternity, one of the matters they are quite open about is their support of local communities.
During the open day of the Gatton Masonic Lodge on Saturday, Gary Mark, CEO of the freemason charity Hand Heart Pocket, spoke about the struggles and successes of the organisation.
"One of the key parts of masonry everywhere in the world is charity. It's an important part of our meetings," he said.
Hand, Heart, Pocket's stated purpose is to work with local masonic lodges to help bridge funding gaps, and provide a hand up to contemporary families and communities.
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"Why contemporary? Because we have to stay ahead of the times. Charities today are not what they were," Mr Mark said.
"The days of the fundraiser are numbered. There are so many causes, and people are being bombarded. It's just not sustainable."
Local masonic lodges identify people, places, and organisations in need of funding or support, and pass the information up to Hand Heart Pocket.
"We haven't forgotten that our lodges exist in communities, and those communities have needs," Mr Mark said.
"We'll never be able to solve them all, we have to pick a few, and do our best to make a difference."
In the past five years, the group have delivered over $11 million in grants and in-kind support to charities and organisations state-wide.
A number of these projects have been carried out in the Lockyer Valley area.
The Lowood lodge donated $1000 to Guide Dogs Australia, while the Gatton lodge put forth $4,650 towards the Hand Heart Pocket 2018 Drought Appeal.
The Argyle lodge, in Forest Hill, have contributed more than $5000 to Blue Care in recent years, to help cover fuel and maintenance costs for their community care vehicle.
They have also contributed thousands more to the Laidley Hospital Auxiliary, most recently with a $6000 donation to help them purchase two new humidifiers.
As well as helping with issues at a local level, Hand Heart Pocket contribute to larger causes, and have identified several prominent issues to commit to in future.
These causes include men's mental and physical health, women's financial and physical security, and creating employment opportunities for youth with mental health issues.