Masonic Village at Dallas resident Mimi Johnson coordinated a cleanup of Country Club Road. Residents have adopted the road leading up to campus and beautify it annually.
Many Masonic Villages residents are active in the community. Last year, residents contributed to service projects that benefited children, students, older adults, emergency service providers and those with food and housing insecurities.
Masonic Village at Dallas residents participated in an Adopt a Road project to help clean up nearby Country Club Road and volunteered at the Back Mountain Food Pantry, along with donating nonperishable goods and $4,006 to support its mission. They also contributed $500 and pet supplies to Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, a zero-kill organization, located in Dallas. In Lafayette Hill, residents donated puzzles and books to Fox Chase Cancer Center and clothing and other miscellaneous items to Whosoever Gospel Mission, the Salvation Army and the National Federation for the Blind.
A dozen members of Masonic Village at Sewickley’s PLARN (plastic yarn) group knit plastic mats for the New Life Community Church in Pittsburgh, which donates them to homeless individuals. A group of residents also knit blankets, robes and hats for Project Linus, a national nonprofit organization which donates blankets to children in hospitals, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children; shelters; social service agencies; or anywhere a need arises. They donated 124 blankets and 71 quilts in 2020.
Through the sales of handmade floral arrangements, jewelry, blankets, cards, gift bags and much more, the Craft Group at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown raises money to support others. In 2020, they donated proceeds to numerous Masonic and community charities, including $2,000 to each Northwest EMS and Friendship Fire & Hose.
Nancy Balmer with Pastor Preston Van Deursen, director of spiritual care, Masonic Village at Elizabethtown
Masonic Village at Elizabethtown resident Nancy Balmer knit 70 hats, which she donated to Sell Chapel’s Outreach program. The hats were shared with the Christmas Shop, run through the EBIC Elizabethtown BIC Church and ECHOS. After recovering from cancer and then caring for her daughter, who passed away after a battle with cancer, Nancy asked herself why she survived when so many others do not. She realized she still had an unfulfilled purpose and has been knitting ever since, including hats for soldiers serving overseas and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Hospitals.
The Grey Lions of Elizabethtown, Masonic Village’s Penn State alumni interest group, awarded five $1,000 scholarships in 2020 to deserving Penn State students: Brecken Musser, Catherine Duncan, Ashley Deck, Caitlin Deck and Logan Vogelsong.
Resident Jane Taggart’s granddaughter, Emily Bonsall, planned to show and sell her pig in the Elizabethtown Fair in 2020. When the fair was canceled, Jane purchased the pig from her granddaughter, and worked with Masonic Village’s food services department to come up with a way to share it with her fellow residents. Proceeds of $1,290 from Pork BBQ for a Cause were donated to the Elizabethtown Fair to buy three new pens for young farmers to use at future fairs.
Residents of the Bleiler Caring Cottage participated in several community service projects, including collecting food for ECHOS and Community Cupboard of Elizabethtown. Twice a month, they cleaned up trash at the Elizabethtown Train Station and/or Wolgemuth Community Park. For the 10th year, they also participated in Share-A-Card, providing 600 Christmas cards for terminally ill individuals across the country.
Supporting Those with Food Insecurities
Walk for Hunger
Masonic Village at Elizabethtown’s Garden Club sponsored a “Victory Garden” initiative in which garden volunteers planted produce in all available gardens to donate to campus restaurants, residents (including the Masonic Children’s Home and Bleiler Caring Cottage), staff and the Community Cupboard of Elizabethtown. Thanks to donations from residents, the Retirement Living Resident’s Association also presented $12,170 to the Community Cupboard to support their mission. During a Village Encore Band concert on March 1, a collection of $500 was taken on behalf of Community Cupboard. Sell Chapel provided $5,000 to the First Church of God of Elizabethtown in April for its food pantry’s bagged lunches.
Supporting those experiencing food insecurities around the world, Masonic Village’s Walk Together for Hunger was held on Oct. 17 in Elizabethtown. The annual community CROP Walk was cancelled, so the spiritual care department organized the walk for staff and residents to raise money and awareness for this worthy cause. The event raised $765 for CROP International and the Community Cupboard.