Nearly every month we receive and post an updated list from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs of their needs. The list includes volunteer opportunities as well as items needed, plus a short list of items that are not needed or cannot be accepted at this time. We’ve just posted the December List: VA-Wish-List-December-2017.
Valley Grange recently demonstrated their support of Veterans with a donation of collected items and cash for the Garry Owen House in Searsmont, Maine. We also learned about some of the work being done on behalf of our Veterans from Alex “Bear” Allmayer-Beck, LCSW and Program Director for the Garry Owen House. Alex later wrote, “I particularly enjoy events like this because they restore my faith in what America is really about. As a person who immigrated to the United States to leave the atheistic dictatorship of Tito in Yugoslavia, a day never goes by that I don’t thank God that I am a citizen of the U.S.A.”
Joining Alex was Bruce “Joker” Marshall, an active member of the Maine Chapter 3 of the Patriot Riders. Bruce shared several success stories demonstrating how the Riders have help Veterans in many different ways.
In “other business” Grange Members voted to support the “4 Friends for Smiles Campaign” –a Dexter-based program run by four third grade girls (“K-Kids” who, with the help of their Moms are making and delivering baskets to kids who are in the hospital on the EMMC pediatric floor. The girls created the project so they could “pass along some niceness” and the folks at Valley Grange are happy to help! Since they received their dictionaries from Valley Grange last year maybe the looked up the word “niceness,” but defining words with actions such as theirs truly gives the word meaning!
by Walter Boomsma
Two additions to the website this morning:
- Added WindowDressers contact information to the original post regarding the WindowDressers Program.
- Updated the Veterans Administration Volunteer Wish List on the Program Books and Information Page. (Note this list always includes items they do not need and cannot accept.)
Hope you are counting down to Grange Month–just a few weeks to go! Remember to send us photos and stories of your programs. Be a DO-er!
Members of Danville Junction Grange recently prepared over 175 valentines for Veterans, thanking them for their service to our country. These were distributed to Veterans at Togas VA Hospital and at nursing homes in the area.
by Rick Watson, Master, Fairview Grange #342
In this season of giving, I’d like to share some of what our little “Grange that Could” has been up to, starting with a fundraiser dinner on 10/30 for a local Smithfield resident who is fighting cancer. We heard of her plight and decided to see if we could ease some of the burden. Whether or not her family had insurance to help with her illness, there is still the matter of gas for the numerous treatment trips, a lunch for whoever is taking her, maybe a hot meal for the family while she is sidelined and so on. We decided on a donations-accepted dinner on her behalf. To our delight, and to the surprise of her family, we raised over $2500 in a couple hours. Our Grange purchased most of the food and our members rounded out the dinner, bread, dessert and so on. As an aside, we have been looking for some menu alternatives to round out our summer supper selection and took the opportunity to try a lasagna, salad, roll, dessert, beverage dinner. It was a “hit” and will likely become one of our offerings next summer. Easy to serve to a lot of people in short fashion and in line with the food cost for our other dinners. A win-win for all.
In planning for our Grange Christmas Party, we decided to bring food and paper goods for our local food cupboard. By the end of the night, we had a mountain (OK, a small mountain, but still a lot) of donations from our Grangers. Truly in the Christmas spirit, we also made goodie bags, 50 of them, for the veterans at the VA in Augusta. One of our members works there and she was the one who brought us the opportunity to make the veterans there feel comforted in the fact that someone cares about them. We brought snacks and sugar-free candy and made a big pile on a table and some sat and stuffed the bags while others in the hall that night sang Christmas carols. Truly a night to be cherished by all in attendance. As Master, I had sent out individual invites to all paid members detailing the plans for the night, with a suggestion to bring a guest, one who might be inspired by our citizenship, (and maybe somewhat selfishly,) as a membership drive. We always need (and TRULY welcome) new faces and ideas. I was delighted with the turnout. Our largest Christmas party in years.
Next for Fairview Grange is an opportunity to help a young family who is expecting baby Emma in February. Emma will need a LOT of medical help going forward. She is being born with a heart defect. There is a lot of positive energy behind this event and we feel confident in our ability to make a difference. A spaghetti supper will be held on January 28 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 pm in Smithfield at the Fairview Grange. For more info please contact “Faith” (Hmmn…how fitting is THAT?) at 441-6929 to donate, lend a hand etc. or Mindy at 248-2066. There will be Mary Kay and Tupperware sales and any sales will send a portion of the proceeds to baby Emma and family. YOU CAN HELP! (This event is listed on the MSG Website event calendar and you can download a flyer with details.) Please plan on attending if you can or contact one of the gals to donate if you can’t make it on the 28th.
Thanks for listening. Good luck with YOUR Grange. Brainstorm. Take responsible risks. You will probably be delighted with the results.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has just released an updated “wish list” containing a number of volunteer opportunities around the state. I’ve posted it on the Program Books and Information Page under Community Service, but you can also access it directly (printer friendly copy): Veterans Affairs Wish List, December 2016.
The Grange is both a highly patriotic organization and one filled with amazingly talented individuals who understand the power and sentiment of handicrafts such as quilts. As part of our Patriot’s Program, started in 2012, we are heavily encouraging all Granges to identify members who are veterans or active duty service members that were deployed during war time and request for them a QUILT OF VALOR.
Quilts of Valor are free, made by volunteers who seek to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comfort and healing Quilts of Valor.”
Go to: www.qovf.org/ Click on Take Action and REQUEST A QUILT.
Once you have submitted a request, or if you know of a Grange member who has received a Quilt of Valor in the past, please contact me by email at lecturernationalgrangeorg (lecturernationalgrangeorg) or call (202) 628-3507 ext. 102 to inform us of your request/the Quilt of Valor already received, the name of the veteran and your Grange’s name.
Please don’t forget, certificates are available for FREE from the National Grange to recognize veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and the conflicts not classified as wars during the Cold War Era. Certificates will be available in mid-2017 for Gulf War Veterans in 2018 for all those serving in the post-9/11 era conflicts/wars. This program is sponsored by Potomac Grange No. 1 (DC). Informational DVDs are available to explain WWII – what led to the war, the war itself, its toll and its impact on our nation – and the Korean War. DVDs on Vietnam and the Cold War conflicts are expected out in 2017 and Gulf War and Post-9/11 in 2018. These can be used to glean information needed for a great lecturer’s program or can be an introduction for Junior Grangers and Grange Youth to citizenship and patriotism lessons.