ABOVE PHOTO: Prince Hall Mason Keith R. Cuttino secures tree to the roof of a car
Members of The First Masonic District Council of the Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania stood for hours in a chilling rain last Saturday to give away free Christmas trees to different charities and individuals in need.
“This is unbelievable,” said Joislyn Martin, public relations officer for the charitable end of the Wheels of Soul Motorcycle Club. “If they [Masons] hadn’t provided this tree, there would be none for this particular family we’re helping.” The family, she said, could barely afford toys, and a tree was out of the question until she heard about the Mason’s distributing the trees for free from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge Headquarters at 4301 North Broad Street.
Two cars away from her, Jasmine Fleming watched anxiously as Prince Hall Mason Ed Hunley mounted a tree atop her car before securing it with ropes.
“I don’t know what to say,” she said. “This was just so nice and I definitely needed the help and appreciate what they have done. Honestly, I really couldn’t afford a tree because they are so much more expensive this year. I can’t believe they [Masons] are doing this.”
Melvin Austin, the newly-elected 104thrd Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons, said he, too, was grateful to the First Masonic District Council for their donations of the trees and its “selfless act of kindness”.
“On the other hand, this is simply what we do,” he said. “Prince Hall Masons have been in the business of nurturing, supporting, and helping our community for the past 200 years.”
The trees were distributed throughout the day as masonic volunteers from across the city came to help with the mounting and securing of the trees to the roof of vehicles packed with excited children, and even a few elderly individuals.
“This is really who we are and what we are about,” said Calvin Boyce, 3rd Vice President of the first Masonic District. “It’s just what we do”.