Volunteers pack the Christmas dinners.

Christmas, for the majority of people and families, is a joyous and wonderful festive period; however, it can be a very hard time for some unfortunate individuals, families and their children, due to poverty and other dire circumstances that have afflicted their lives. This year is no exception indeed due to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, it has for many struggling in desperate hardship, made the situation far worse.

Bags packed, all ready to go!

Bro Paul Hacker from Abbey Lodge 2529, some seven years ago, found himself in need and desperate at Christmas when he was without work, had no money and could not even afford food for himself or his children, let alone any presents. With the kind, generous support and help of family and friends he made it through and got his life back on track. Now enjoying the success that comes from owning a flourishing business Paul can look forward to a great Christmas each year with his family and children. Knowing how desperate things can get at Christmas from personal experience and not resting on his laurels, Paul promised that he would do everything in his power to help others who were desperately in need of food and some gifts for the children to open on Christmas day. 

Six years ago, to his own absolute credit and hard work, Paul saved up £100 and bought four families a Christmas dinner each. The next year it was seven families, then ten families the year after that. In the fourth-year, people, after hearing of Paul’s great work, started to donate food and money to him and he increased the provision to 51 families then last year it was 48 families catered for. Incredibly, this year the numbers have rocketed and due to the superb, charitable donations and help given, Paul has been able to provide food parcels for 220 families, in other words 1000 individuals! Brilliant!

To achieve this wonderful success Paul has worked hard and enlisted help from amongst others, Lisa at the Hyndburn hub, the local Morrisons Store, Clayton Park Bakery, England farms, securing discounted and free food, milk and extra donations together with the premises to logistically co-ordinate the storage and putting together of the parcels.

With Paul’s own Lodge, Abbey Lodge in Whalley and the Burnley and Pendle Freemasons donating the sum of £300 to his appeal, the final piece of this Christmas charitable help was to be able to deliver these vital food parcels to the families throughout, Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington, Great Harwood, Clitheroe, Whalley, Hapton, Burnley, Padiham, Colne and Nelson.

An appeal went out from the Burnley and Pendle District Charity Stewards to all local Freemasons to spare some of their precious time on Christmas Eve to help in the delivery of Pauls Food parcels. Together with Paul’s friends, Brothers Paul Thornton, Mostafa Ahmadi-Kattir, Colin Weemes, Ron Burrows, Ian Salthouse, Ray Evans, Cliff Copper and his wife Rhonda, answered the call and gladly gave up their time to support such an excellent cause. 

Paul Hacker and family (front) with the volunteers

The sheer delight and thanks from all the families we delivered too to make their Christmas joyous made us all very proud to be Freemasons and a part of the tremendous charitable work Paul is achieving. 

Congratulations Paul for all of your great work – roll on Christmas 2021!

Article by Ray Evans

Pictures by Ray Evans