Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Did you know that our Order in California has a special benefit fund that is available to give short term financial help to members in need?
Well, we do. It’s called “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs Beneficial Fund” and it was created by the Grand Lodge Board of Directors to provide assistance to Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. In 2014, the Benefit Committee, which manages the fund and determines grants from the fund, helped 15 members of our Order for a total of $13,494.70. Overall, the fund has provided reimbursements for a variety of short term needs including hearing aids, cancer treatments, dental work, eye glasses, moving expenses, several types of medical treatments, funeral expenses, a wheel chair battery, and even assistance with mortgage and rent payments. The monetary benefits are limited in amount and time, but they do really help members in need who have no other resources.
Neil Allen, the Chair of the Benefit Committee (who also serves as one of my Grand Lodge Officers in the capacity of Grand Instructor) recently wrote: “On several occasions, I have talked with applicants to clarify their situation and they have often expressed with great emotion their circumstances. When I tell them we really want to help them, they are extremely grateful. On other occasions, I am greeted at various Odd Fellows meetings with a big hug from members we have helped. This once again, reminds me that this fund and many others are of great value to our members.”
The importance of the Odd Fellows & Rebekahs Beneficial Fund cannot be overstated. I have recognized the significance of this fund by making it one of my projects for my year as Grand Master, under my program of “Helping Others to Help Themselves”. I have provided $1,000 to the fund from the sale of my books, and I urge members and Lodges to generously support this fund and keep it viable and available to help members in need. Particularly in this holiday season, support of this fund is an imperative for our Order. This beneficial fund harkens back to the old days of Odd Fellowship when our fraternity was truly a “beneficial society” (or as the British call it, “a friendly society”). Odd Fellowship in the 1800’s provided a wide range of benefits to its members which have largely been replaced by insurance policies and government programs today. But the Odd Fellows & Rebekahs Beneficial Fund is a modern version of the support Odd Fellowship once provided to its members. And it is of vital importance for those members who need it.
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs in need, in good standing, can apply for monetary help by using a simple one-page form. The Benefit Committee will, discretely and confidentially, evaluate the application and make a decision whether or not to provide a grant to help the member. You can obtain the form and more information on the criteria that apply by e-mailing Neil Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the Benefit Committee at the following address:
Odd Fellows & Rebekahs Beneficial Fund
24320 Grand View Avenue
Colfax, CA 95713
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Jurisdiction of California