The Masonic Angel Foundation's annual Beehive Winter Coats program started Tuesday when volunteers from Howard Masonic Lodge in Yarmouth picked up 183 coats to be delivered to the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District's three lower elementary schools.
This is the third year the Masonic Angels have delivered winter coats in bulk. "We get a much better price when we purchase coats in bulk rather than buying one at a time," said Masonic Angel Foundation co-founder Robert Fellows. "This also lets us get in front of the need rather than wait for kids to show up at school with no coat on a cold morning." School staff determine how many coats are needed and which students will receive them. The Masons never learn the identities of the children they help.
Last November, the Masons purchased some of their coats from The Clothes Den in Orleans for the first time. This spring, Dennis Talbot (owner of The Clothes Den) approached the MAF about pre-ordering coats to get a lower price. "Dennis pre-ordered 300 coats for us at about 25% below the best price we paid in 2015," reports MAF board secretary Mario Mere. Talbot told the Masons they could buy at least an additional 100 coats at that price, if needed.
In 2015 the Masonic Angels distributed 270 coats from Wellfleet to Yarmouth. This year, so far, they have purchased 316 coats and will likely have done 400 coats before they're finished. "We have 75 going to The Children's Place in Eastham, 14 to Wellfleet, 20 to Eastham, 24 to Falmouth and 183 to Yarmouth, so far. We're still waiting to hear from at least three schools," said Mr. Fellows.
Many children will also receive hats and mittens. On the Lower Cape, the "teddy bears" from last year will make another visit - 200 of them this time.
All items are brand new with tags still attached. "We want every child to have a brand new item," said Fellows.
Strong community support
The Beehive Winter Coats program is funded by grants from The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Foundation, The Virginia Cook Trust of the Federated Church of Orleans, The Giles F. Council (a Boston Scottish Rite Masonic Body), Boston's Lodge of St. Andrew and the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts. "Our local chapters fund as many coats as they can on their own and then additional coats are funded with grant money. Fortunately, we have very strong community support for this program. It grows nicely every year as more donors come forward, enabling us to help more kids," reports MAF Volunteer Adam Menges.
Volunteers from area Masonic Lodges deliver the coats to schools in their respective towns. Last minute requests are handled by "relay" where one volunteer picks up a coat, delivers to another volunteer who will drive it up-Cape to meet another volunteer who will deliver it to a school.
More to come
Mr. Fellows told CapeCodToday that, "The season is just starting. I'm sure we'll be doing many more deliveries over the next few weeks." Stay tuned to capecodtoday.com to read our continuing chronicle of Beehive Winter Coats.
If you'd like to support the MAF's winter coat program, donations may be mailed to: Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. PO Box 1389, Orleans, MA 02653 or sent via PayPal to [email protected]