Cape Cod’s Masonic Angels delivered their 2,000th Beehive Food Package this week.
Launched in May 2012 as a temporary program, the Masonic Angel Foundation’s Beehive Food Program now serves families in Hyannis, Chatham, Orleans, Brewster, Eastham and Wellfleet. Twenty-three military families at Joint Base Cape Cod also receive the monthly supplemental food packages.
While the Masons thought Beehive would be a short term program, the need has grown far beyond their expectations. “We started with 24 families and it quickly grew from there,” said MAF volunteer Randall Chow. “During the school year we peak at 127 families and drop a bit during summer.”
“Brings a smile to the family’s face”
Beehive Food recipients are identified by the staff at school working with local Masonic Angel Fund chapters. The Masons deliver the packages to the schools once a month and school staff distribute the food. The Masons never know the identity of those receiving Beehive packages.
Christine Sieger, executive director of Nauset Youth Alliance told Cape Cod Today that her program, “…has been receiving two grocery bags each per month, for families in need…for the past two years. These bags are filled with food options for a few extra meals in the house when awaiting that next paycheck, and some healthy snacks for the children for when they need something to quench their appetite. After a few years of receiving this monthly contribution, each parent is still excited and thankful for that extra help from the Masons.”
“The Beehive Package always brings a smile to the family’s face and they really appreciate the support”, declares Dr. Maggie Mack of Wellfleet Elementary School.
Strong community support
The Masons credits strong community support with their ability to grow the Beehive Food Program. Civic groups, churches, car dealers, small business owners, individual donors and institutional grant-makers have all stepped up to fund Beehive’s $10 per family per month cost.
As are all Masonic Angel Foundation programs, Beehive is entirely operated by volunteers. MAF has no paid staff. The Masons are proud to say that 100% of a dollar donated “goes to the kids”.
“The middle-class common sense of this program appeals to our donors,” says Beehive volunteer Adam Menges. “There nothing more fundamental that feeding those in need.”
Assistance from Dollar Tree
All food items distributed by the Masonic Angels are purchased in bulk from Dollar Tree.
Each month the Masons work with the management at Dollar Tree’s South Yarmouth store to manage the logistics to purchase and process some 1,270 individual grocery items. Dollar Tree staff work side-by-side with the MAF volunteers in moving, packaging and loading volunteers’ vehicles with case upon case of food.
“Because Dollar Tree is so efficient, we need only send two volunteers to pick up the monthly food order. Dollar Tree handles everything quite professionally and has us in and out the door in about 45 minutes,” reports Mr. Fellows. “Beehive would not succeed without Dollar Tree’s partnership.”
What’s in this month’s Beehive Package?
The June Beehive Food Packages included:
Here to stay
Although conceived as a temporary program, “Beehive is here to stay” according to all of the MAF volunteers. “The need is great each and every month. Despite rumors of an improving economy, there are many families really struggling out there”, declares volunteer Randall Chow.
So as not to compete with existing local food programs, Beehive does not accept donations of food from the general public. Businesses and individuals are welcome to sponsor a family for $10/month with a tax-deductible donation to the 501(c)(3) Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.
For more information about the Beehive Food Program visit www.beehivefood.org.