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Gregory A. Summers
Last fall, the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association, with help from their fellow masons and several business, collected more than 3,000 pounds of food and raised more than $4,500 for HOPE (Helping Other People Effectively) in Lancaster by holding a charity motorcycle run.
The inaugural effort was a lot of work, most of which was behind the scenes.
But it was also a lot of fun, said Elaine Adkins, HOPE’s executive director.
“These guys and girls are so great to work with,” Adkins said. “They don’t just want to help, they’re excited about it.
“You know when your own volunteers, who helped last year, start asking about it, that’s a good sign that someone’s effort is making an impact,” Adkins said.
The run is definitely back and the Widows Sons are already working hard to make this year’s event a sophomore success by placing a food collection box in the Walmart lobby. Participating masonic lodges have also started food drives for the second annual HOPE Charity Run on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Ride coordinator Grey Taylor said there was no doubt the riders would be back again this year.
“Being a part of the motorcycle community, we had a good idea at how everything would work. It was amazing the response we had and how much food we gathered,” Taylor said. “For our first time out, it went very smooth.”
The ride has united the masonic lodges for a great local cause by providing food and cash for hurting families.
“Hearing Elaine share stories about what’s going on opens your eyes,” Taylor said. “You realize in a hurry, it could be, and is, your neighbors. There are some out there without jobs and without food to eat who are really struggling. We don’t have any idea what they’re going through,”
Sign-up is 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Barron Masonic Lodge in Heath Springs, with stops at Camp Creek, Flat Rock, Indian Land, Jackson, Macedonia in Jefferson and Wannamaker masonic lodges.
At a time when many family budgets are stretched to the breaking point, this charity run offers an alternative to participate. The cost is a $20 cash donation or $20 worth of food for single riders or a $25 cash donation or $25 worth of food for double riders and includes a T-shirt.
“If you can afford to skip eating out one meal, skip it and invest it in HOPE,” Taylor said. “That $20 your family decides not to spend at a fast food restaurant could make the difference for another family.”
The charity run ends at HOPE in Lancaster, for a cookout with all the trimmings, an auction and door prize drawings. All the proceeds benefit HOPE in Lancaster.
“Everyone had a blast last year,” Adkins said. “This group is so much fun to have around. They want to have a good time, but more importantly, they want to make a difference. They include their families, their pets, everyone.”
A faith-based, non-profit volunteer-driven organization, HOPE in Lancaster provides short-term emergency assistance to those in crisis. It assist with utilities, mortgages, rent and food.
“We’re still at it, doing what we need to be doing,” Adkins said.
The Masonic riders will also pick up food donations from churches and civic organizations for HOPE. To schedule a pick-up, or for more information about the charity run, call Taylor at (803) 804-0050, Jon Willis at (803) 287-3431, or John Carter at (803) 427-7425.
“Everything we do is based on faith, hope and charity,” Taylor said. “When we have an opportunity to help those in need, we’re supposed to help.”
Contact Gregory A. Summers at (803) 283-1156