This message from Sovereign Grand Commander David A. Glattly, 33°, is part of a series for the Helping Hand Initiative highlighting the work of the Grand Almoner’s Fund.

Living Our Obligation: My First Experience with the Grand Almoner’s Fund

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed our lives, forever. We are all looking forward to the end of this when we are able to reach out and extend our warm hand of brotherhood once again.

In the last few months, our Grand Almoner’s Fund has stood ready and assisted many of our Scottish Rite members and widows throughout our current health emergency. These requests come in regularly, and when a Brother is in trouble, the Almoner’s Fund is there to lend a helping hand.

I’ll never forget my first experience helping a Brother through the Grand Almoner’s Fund. It really touched my heart, and it’s what makes the Almoner’s Fund so special to me.

A Brother I knew who lived nearby had his home completely destroyed by Hurricane Irene. I learned about the loss of his home shortly after it happened, and I called Sovereign Grand Commander McNaughton and asked him about getting some financial assistance from the Grand Almoner’s Fund for this Brother in need. It was the first time I had ever contacted the Supreme Council for such a request.

After I explained this Brother’s situation to Commander McNaughton, he asked, “Well, how much do you want?”

I was stuttering and stammering – I hadn’t expected to be asked a specific amount. So I said nervously, “Well, do you think $3,000 is too much?

Commander McNaughton said, “I think you’re light. We’re going to make that a $10,000 check, and I’ll send it over right away.

The check arrived a few days later from the Grand Almoner, and I called this Brother in need and told him that I had something from the Scottish Rite, NMJ for him. He was actually working nearby at the time, so I gave him the address and he stopped by my house.

I had taken the check and folded it and put it in a card, so I handed it to him and said, “This is for you.” He thanked me and then put it into his pocket, which is the polite thing to do, but I said, ‘No, you can open that.

First he opened the card and read it, and he said, “Thank you. That’s very nice.

Then I said, ‘No. You can open the check.

So he opened the check. And you have to realize, this is the week of Christmas. He had two little children at home. He’d just been through a major disaster that destroyed his house. When he looked at the check for $10,000 made out to him from Scottish Rite, NMJ, he teared up and started to cry. I’ll never forget him standing there in my kitchen, crying. Then I started to cry.

I put my hand on his shoulder, and I said, “It’s okay. It’s what we do for Masonic Brothers.

That’s when I realized how much you feel in your heart when you’re able to help someone through the Grand Almoner’s Fund. Masons aren’t used to accepting help, but sometimes they need it. When we kneel at the altar of Freemasonry, we take an oath that we will take care of our Brother Masons, their widows, and orphans. Supporting the Almoner’s Fund is a way to live out that obligation.

To donate to the Helping Hand Initiative and help support the Grand Almoner’s Fund, visit DonateRite.org.