To continue highlighting the philanthropic work of our undergraduate chapters, we would like to highlight a philanthropy that so many of our groups take part in each year— Acacia Claus. Now a consistent part of Acacia programming for over thirteen years, we couldn’t be more proud of how our brothers have taken and ran with this event since its inception in 2004.
Since then, many of our Chapters and Colonies continue to raise anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands, for the annual winter philanthropy. Most of the time, this just includes monetary donations and not the physical toys, books, clothes, canned goods and other items that help fill the donation bins each year. In fact, we know that in just monetary donations alone our Illinois State and Missouri chapters raised close to $2,000 and $3,500 respectively. On top of these, we know of twelve other groups that put on successful events this past semester: Arizona State, Illinois Wesleyan, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Millersville, Nebraska, Texas, Trine, Vermont, Washington State, and Wisconsin.
For many of our chapters, a primary beneficiary of Acacia Claus and other philanthropies is consistently Shriners Hospitals for Children. In fact, Missouri, Illinois State and Texas have chosen Shriners as their annual beneficiary. The non-profit hospital, fully funded by the help of Shriners around the world, deals with orthopedic and burn cases from children as young as infants to as old as seventeen or eighteen. We are thrilled to see many of our chapters consistently support this organization that we connect with at our most basic masonic values and principles.
However, it’s not always about the toys. Our Indiana and Wisconsin Chapters ran food drives for their Acacia Claus, raising several hundred non-perishable items each. The Wisconsin Chapter (at right) collected over 550lbs. of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank; Indiana Chapter collected over 850lbs of food for their local beneficiary; Vermont Colony raised over (an estimated) $6,000 in clothing for their two-month-long winter clothing drive, which benefits the local ‘Joint Urban Ministry Project.’
Our chapters continue to do a marvelous job of adapting Acacia Claus to their campuses and the needs of their local communities. Stay tuned for more examples of Acacians promoting ‘Human Service’ across North America in the coming weeks.