Masons supply Christmas cheer, food boxes, to 400 area families

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

The boxes given to each of the families contained everything necessary for a memorable holiday meal; including meats such as turkey, ground beef, chicken breasts, sausage, bacon, canned meat, and hot dogs; as well as a bag of potatoes, eggs, pasta, soup, beans, canned vegetables, cereal, and other food for multiple side dishes.

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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 Temecula, Menifee, and Fallbrook. The boxes were distributed to needy families from the various lodges last week, just in time to begin preparations for a Christmas dinner to remember.

According to Drew Diederich, of Hemet San Jacinto Masonic Lodge #338, this year Bowman “raised more money than ever before and was therefor able to supply boxes to more families.”

“The money for this event is raised throughout the year at our golf tournaments, friendship breakfast and from donations,” explained Diederich; who said Bowman has been spearheading this event for the last ten years.

For the tenth year in a row, local Masons provided holiday meal boxes to needy southwest Riverside County families. Drew Diederich photo

“Events like this are the result of good people wanting to help others in their community,” Diederich told RCNS as the date for the holiday meal box giveaway was approaching.

According to Diederich, the meal boxes are the cumulative results of three charity golf tournaments organized by Bowman every year.

“The proceeds from those events, as well as some donations he is given, are gathered near the end of the year,” Diederich explained; saying once Bowman has gathered the necessary funds, he finds where he can buy the boxes, and how many he can afford.

“He then splits the money three ways between the three lodges in our area,” Diedrich continued.

“The families are then selected through local food pantries and food banks, police and sheriff departments, as well as churches and other non-profit organizations,” Diedrich said, while explaining how families are selected to receive the meals.

Hemet resident Jon Tompkins, whose family was one of hundreds who received a meal box this year, later told RCNS how grateful he was after learning his family was chosen to receive a meal box.

“It’s been a rough year for us,” said Tompkins, who has four children with his wife. “Like many families, we weren’t sure we would be able to have a big Christmas dinner.”

“If it weren’t for the Masons, I think our Christmas dinner would have been nothing different from every other meal we struggle to provide our children,” Tompkins continued. “I just can’t thank them enough.”

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, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; 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 29 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 16 grandchildren.

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