Throughout the pandemic, Rochdale District Freemasons have gone the extra mile(s) to help those in need.Shortly before the pandemic started, John Taylor (Rochdale District Charity Steward) introduced an initiative supporting the local foodbank.Taking a novel approach to fundraising John decided to measure every item of food donated to reach a mile in total. That was a stretching target, to say the least, and to put it into perspective, there are 14,627 tins in a mile.Communities have been adversely affected by the pandemic meaning more people require the support of foodbanks swelling their client base enormously.
It is at difficult times such as these when public-spirited groups come to the fore and help others in their hour of need.Rochdale District Freemasons were determined to step up to the plate (if you will excuse the pun!!) and help to feed those needing essential items – something most people take for granted. Financial and food donations have passed £10,000 and almost two and a half miles of food has been donated. That’s over 36,500 tins stacked on top of each other.One person donated not one but two van loads of food, Hopwood hall college donated hundreds of Easter eggs last year, and members of Hope Lodge have made individual donations totalling over £2,000.

Each week John and his wife Sue visit local supermarkets and load up their car with essentials before delivering them to the foodbank. Donations are shared between local food banks and a soup kitchen, too, which gets the food to where it is needed.A dedicated bank account enables Freemasons and other supportive individuals to make donations, ensuring weekly shopping trips have continued throughout the pandemic.In reviewing the last year, they are both delighted to have helped their local community. John said, “Freemasons have been very generous with their donations and it’s heartwarming to know we have collectively played our part in helping those in need.” 
Rochdale District Chairman Douglas Smith said with foodbanks across the UK and Rochdale being used more than ever, especially during the pandemic. “We are so glad that we can provide for families across Rochdale with food to get them through this current crisis.To John, Sue, the public and all the members of Rochdale, Todmorden and Bacup Freemasons, thank you so much for your generous contributions – your gift/s have been incredible.Rochdale District Freemasons stand behind our core values of “Friendship, Integrity, Charity and Respect and are proud to help so many in their time of need.”