Masons to hold toy drive

Published 10:48 am Tuesday, November 24, 2015

“I know that when [parents] walk down on Christmas morning they see the joy in their kids eyes,” Steve Jones, Worshipful Master of St. Mark Lodge No. 24, said. “Can you imagine a kid that walks down and sees nothing? We can’t deprive them of that.”

The Masonic lodge will host its first annual toy drive and banquet at 1 p.m. on Dec. 12 at Lipsey School. Admission is free. There will be toys, door prizes, food, blood pressure checks and live music.

Jones said the group is committed to providing for the area’s less-fortunate children, even if it means a smaller Christmas at their own homes.

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“We’re putting bills off, we’re talking to our kids and telling them that [they’re] going to receive less this Christmas — that’s how dedicated we are to utilize our own money to get toys and bring joy to another family,” Jones said. “We all go through different times. Tomorrow, I could be less fortunate.”

The lodge has held other charitable events for the community. On Nov. 21, lodge members handed out fruit bags at facilities around Wesson and Brookhaven.

“I wish people in Brookhaven could just come out and talk to some of these people,” Jones said.

Lodge members currently meet at the village hall in Wesson, but they do own a building on Washington Street in Brookhaven. Jones said the building was built in 1942 and has been St. Mark Lodge since 1952.

“I want to say it’s been maybe eight to 10 years since someone has actually inhabited that building. A tree fell on the building, and it’s going to cost us so much money to get it up to what is needed,” Jones said. “We would love for it to be a historical building, and I hope we can find someone to assist us. Maybe we could get a grant and build that building back up to a pristine condition. It’s a daunting task.”

Jones said he hopes the bottom floor of the building can be opened to the public and used for after-school tutoring, but renovation isn’t their main focus right now.

“We’ve put that to the side,” Jones said. “We’re trying to do whatever we can. We’re not thinking about ourselves right now. We’re trying to put all our money into helping the community.”

Anyone who wants to donate gifts for the toy drive can drop them off at Lipsey School between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12. Monetary donations can be sent to P.O. Box 987, Wesson MS 39191.