Masons supply Christmas cheer, food boxes, to 300 area families

Three hundred families throughout the Hemet, San Jacinto, Menifee, Murrieta, and Temecula areas, had their Christmas’ brightened a bit this year when they received holiday meal boxes from three area Masonic Lodges.

The boxes each contained everything necessary for a memorable holiday meal; including meats, such as ground beef and turkey, bacon, and roasts; two bags of potatoes; corn on the cob; multiple side dishes and canned vegetables; and so much more.

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As with previous years, this year’s holiday meal box giveaways were made possible by long-time area resident Allan Bowman and the combined efforts of three southwest Riverside County Masonic Lodges, including Hemet and San Jacinto, Temecula, Menifee, and Murrieta. The boxes were distributed to needy families from the lodges Saturday, Dec. 22, just in time to begin preparations for a Christmas dinner.

“This is the result of good people doing great things,” Drew Diederich, of Hemet San Jacinto Masonic Lodge #338, recently told RCNS. Diedrich explained that the holiday meal boxes are the cumulative results of three charity golf tournaments organized by Bowman every year.

Families from throughout southwest Riverside County line up to receive holiday meal boxes provided by area Masonic Lodges.

“Allan holds three charity golf tournaments throughout the year to raise money for the food distribution boxes,” Diedrich explained. “The proceeds from those events, as well as some donations he is given, are gathered near the end of the year.”

“Once he has gathered the necessary funds, Allan finds where he can buy the boxes, and how many,” Diedrich continued. “He then splits the money three ways between the three lodges in our area.”

Because of those golf tournaments, local Masons this year were able to raise enough money to provide food boxes to one hundred families in Temecula, as well as one hundred in Menifee, and one hundred in the San Jacinto valley.

“We work closely with the local community food pantries and each family chosen by area organizations is given a voucher,” Diedrich said, while explaining how families are selected to receive the meals. “Plus, we work with local churches and other organizations.”

Bowman, who recently received his 50 years in Masonry pin and certificate, has been doing the food distribution for the last nine years, according to Diedrich.

“He likes to do the food distribution because he thinks if you have something or can get something, it should be shared,” explained Diedrich.

San Jacinto resident Joy Ambrosche, who was one of hundreds who received a meal box this year, later told RCNS how grateful she and her family were to have been chosen to receive a box of holiday cheer and food from the Masons.

“My husband lost his job earlier this year when the company he worked for first downsized and then moved out of state,” Ambrosche explained. “It’s been rough and until we found out we had been chosen to receive help, we had no idea how, or even if, we would be able to celebrate Christmas this year.”

“I just thank God for charities and organizations like the Masons,” said Ambrosche. “Without their help, our Christmas would have looked, and tasted, a lot different this year.”

Now that this year’s food box giveaway is done Bowman and area Masons are already looking toward next year’s food boxes explained Diedrich, saying, “We will have more golf tournaments planned for next year. So be ready to sign up and play for a good cause.”

For more information about Masons or how you can help support next year’s holiday meal box giveaway visit Freemason.org.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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