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St. Mark Lodge, Electra Chapter hosting toy drive

St. Mark Lodge No. 24 and Electra Chapter 24 are working this year to put together the annual free toy drive and Masonic banquet.

This is the second year for the lodge to hold the toy drive, and last year was a bigger success than the group anticipated.

“We had over 300,” Electra member Torrie Jackson said of the people who participated. “We were really shocked.”

The event will be at 1 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Lipsey School. No admission is charged, and there will be toys, door prizes and a bicycle giveaway. Santa will be making an appearance at the event, along with a live band and a choir.

The group is also working to spread diabetes awareness, and blood pressure checks will be available at the event.

“We’re trying to help out as much as we can in the community,” Jackson said.

Worshipful Master Steve Jones with St. Mark is currently recovering from a major surgery, and he said it’s been a bit painful not to be able to be as active in organizing the event as he was last year.

But Jones said the teams have stepped up and worked hard to make the event a reality.

“They’ve been carrying the torch right now,” Jones said. “When you put God first you can’t help but be successful.”

Jones has been recovering from his surgery for two weeks, and he said he’s going to do his best to make it to the toy drive.

“I know my heart is not going to deny me from being there,” he said.

The lodge has held a number of charitable events for the community, and Saturday the group will be handing out fruit baskets to nursing homes. They will also be collecting donations for the Salvation Army starting at 4 p.m., according to Jones.

Anyone who wants to donate gifts for the toy drive can drop them off at Lipsey School. Monetary donations can be sent to St. Mark Lodge No. 24 at P.O. Box 987, Wesson MS 39191 or Electra Chapter 24 at P.O. Box 1105, Brookhaven, MS 39601.