Masons from Hudson Lodge #510 and friends assembled and delivered more than 100 food baskets and food certificates to area families in need Dec. 21 and 22 as part of the charitable work of the Masonic Assistance Program.

The Masonic Assistance Program is a year-round charitable outreach sponsored by the Freemasons in Summit County and is designed to assist those in need, according to a spokesperson.

As part of this effort, a special holiday food delivery program provides groceries to families who might otherwise have very little food with which to celebrate the holidays.

Hudson Lodge #510 took the lead this year in assembling and delivering these baskets on behalf of all Masonic Lodges in Summit County.

Alex Herbert, the Master of Hudson Lodge and event co-chair, said "The members of Hudson Lodge are proud to be able to serve our community by helping families in need during this holiday season."

Families were nominated by area churches, the Salvation Army, social service agencies and members of the Masonic Fraternity and included returning military veterans who required assistance. Holiday groceries were purchased, assembled and then delivered to families in Summit, Portage, Medina, Cuyahoga, Stark, Wayne and Tuscarawas Counties.

"This effort, which began over 23 years ago as a Christmas food basket program, has been expanded to a larger year-round helpful initiative," said Jeff Burton, event co-chair. "It is consistent with the foundational beliefs of Freemasons, which are brotherly love, relief and truth."

Special assistance was provided this year by Save A Lot #634, which helped with the purchase and loading of the food, and by Newell Rubbermaid, which donated the totes used to transport the canned goods and refrigerated items.

Since its founding in 1808, charity is an important part of the work of Freemasons. In addition to food donations, the 95,000 Freemasons in Ohio provide approximately $15 million in charitable giving annually. This year they gave $94,000 in college scholarships, contributed $200,000 to Ohio Summer Special Olympics and funded $70,000 in free training for hundreds of Ohio school teachers to recognize students at non-academic risk. They also provided $12 million in elderly care and helped many needy families and individuals through their Charitable Foundation.

For more information about Hudson Lodge, call Jon Trimble at 330-618-4483.