Prince Edward Lodge No. 14
The early attachment of the Brethren to the principles of universal benevolence was destined to endure and to impact throughout the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Prince Edward Island. The Lodge’s first Worshipful Master, Bro. Roderick MacNeill, initiated the work as Grand Master in 1895 that eventually led to the establishment of the Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund.
When Bro. MacNeill launched the appeal to the Craft Lodges for funds to start a ‘Relief Fund’ in 1895, Prince Edward Lodge was the first one to respond. On November 6, 1895 the Lodge voted $1 per member to the Fund. Later the per capita was reduced to 10¢. (Minutes, March 6, 1901)
As a Charter Member and devout Freemason, Bro. MacNeill undoubtedly encouraged the Brethren of Prince Edward Lodge in the practise of charity. An early record of such work occurred in 1889 when the widow of Bro. John MacKay received $20 from the Lodge “as a relief.” Bro. MacKay was a sea captain and had been lost at sea in 1887. The Lodge continued their support of his widow into the 1890’s.
Other examples of charitable action in the early years included a vote of $18 in 1895 to help defray the funeral expenses for the family of a deceased widow. (Minutes, December 4, 1895)
Throughout the Twentieth Century the Lodge supported a variety of causes and needs. Beginning in the 1920’s there were references to donations to the Protestant Orphanage. In 1936 the Lodge voted $25 as immediate relief for the widow of Bro. ‘M’ and simultaneously applied for a grant from the Benevolent Fund to provide for a weekly donation of $2 for the widow. (Minutes, September 2, 1936) In September1948 a collection was taken to assist a Brother who lost his barn by fire. In the last half of the Century the Lodge supported the Walter Callow League on an annual basis.
Currently the Lodge supports a variety of needs and programs through its Benevolent Fund. W.Bro. Henry Meek PM has served as Treasurer of the Fund for several years. In addition to providing financial support for Brethren and their families in time of need, the Fund provides Memorial Donations, a wreath on Remembrance Day, annual donations to the Prince County and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals and sundry items related to the benevolent work of the Lodge. Since 1994 the Lodge has actively supported the “Bowl For Millions” Campaign. Each year the Brethren have organized a team to compete in Kensington and have raised in excess of $600 annually for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Prince Edward Island. (Minutes, selected years)