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5000 Meals Made Possible in Newcastle District by Fundraising by Local Masons

23 February 24

In a remarkable journey of community service and unity, Lodge Novacastria 765, led by Worshipful Master Joseph Balasabas, embarked on a mission to alleviate the hardships faced by those struggling with homelessness, addiction, and other societal challenges. Their initiative, "Reaching out for REACH," exemplifies the Masonic values of brotherhood, compassion, and collective action.

In early 2023, Lodge Novacastria 765 identified a pressing need within the community—the rising challenges due to the high cost of living. The lodge, known for its commitment to charitable endeavours, decided to tackle this issue head-on, aiming to provide support to those most affected. This goal set the stage for an inspiring journey that would not only challenge but also highlight the strength and generosity of the Masonic fraternity and its supporters.

To achieve their objective, the lodge planned an ambitious project: a large-scale charity event named "Reaching out for REACH." This endeavor required stepping into unfamiliar territory, organizing a raffle fundraiser that would engage not just Masonic members but also the wider community, including sponsors and the Widows Sons MRA. The choice of a raffle as the fundraising method was strategic, designed to maximize participation and donations, reflecting a deep understanding of the power of collective effort and the joy of giving.

The fundraiser was a resounding success, raising a substantial amount of $17,255.00 in gross proceeds, which translated to a net donation of $11,000.00 to Reach Homeless Service Newcastle. This significant contribution was earmarked to create over 5,000 meals, a gesture that would touch the lives of many, providing not just nourishment but also a message of hope and solidarity.

The raffle prizes, thoughtfully chosen to resonate with the interests of the community, included a brand new 2023 Model KTM Duke 200 motorcycle won by Jarred Villanueva, a two-night accommodation at Port Macquarie claimed by Arlyne Bernardo, and a $250 Moonshadow Cruises Nelsons Bay Gift Voucher awarded to Mila P Lam. These prizes not only served as an incentive for participation but also as a symbol of the joy and excitement that communal activities can bring.

The culmination of the fundraiser saw Lodge Novacastria 765 returning to its familiar role as a pillar of support in the community, this time having significantly impacted the lives of many through their generosity. The funds raised were handed over to Reach Homeless Service Newcastle, marking the successful completion of a cycle of kindness and support.

Reflecting on the project, it's clear that "Reaching out for REACH" was more than just a fundraising event; it was a demonstration of the values that underpin the Masonic fraternity—Humility, Kindness, Generosity. The initiative not only provided practical assistance to those in need but also fostered a sense of community and collective achievement, beautifully encapsulated in the motto "Together Everyone Achieves More."

The efforts of Lodge Novacastria 765 and all involved—Widows Sons MRA, sponsors like FELK Trailers & Engineering, Sayas Ink Tattoo Clinic, and others, and the volunteers who sold tickets—highlight the profound impact that organized, compassionate action can have on society. This story is a testament to the power of community, the joy of giving, and the enduring spirit of Freemasonry in making a difference in the lives of others.


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