By Fran Patrick
Filling mailboxes with happy mail.
One of the greatest lessons we can teach the younger generation is the value of helping others. But what defines “helping others”? Is it monetary donations? While greatly appreciated, there is something extra special when a person, or persons, take the time to give from the heart, and that is exactly what the Missouri Rainbow Girls have shown us.
The leaders of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (IORG) are always looking for ways to encourage and teach its members the value of giving back. Debbie Olds, Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of Missouri, Order of the Eastern Star, shares that, while giving back to communities is great, the IORG looks for opportunities “to get the girls involved with other Masonic bodies on a local level.”
The Masonic Family Cares Program was established as a way to connect Lodges and Chapters to Masonic brothers and sisters in need of a helping hand. Over the years the program has expanded, and during the pandemic the Masonic Home and Order of the Eastern Star worked together creating packages to send out to members as part of the Pen Pal program.
“The boxes have taught them that sometimes just a simple box can change a cloudy, dreary day, into a day of sunshine and happiness!”
As an integral part of OES, along with her involvement with the IORG, Debbie was the perfect connector to bring the groups together when the Rainbow Girls wanted to be part of the solution to ease the loneliness and isolation felt by so many Masonic brothers and sisters.
After the first care package event, the “Build a Box of Sunshine” party with Ashland Chapter #309, the project took off and was selected to be one of the statewide service projects completed at Grand Assembly (there are usually two or three service projects chosen each year). Fast forward to the recent announcement that, in 2023, the “Build a Box of Sunshine” service project for the Masonic Home clients will be the sole service project of the Missouri IORG’s Grand Assembly. It is quite an achievement by all involved.
“The girls love doing it,” shares Debbie. “It is an awesome experience to watch them stuff the boxes, and read the messages they write … all to help bring sunshine to those who receive them. The boxes have taught them that sometimes just a simple box, with simple items and a note of encouragement, that arrives at the most unexpected time can change a cloudy, dreary day into a day of sunshine and happiness!”
Each box is filled with items that have been donated statewide by the girls. This year there will be over 100 boxes delivered, each with a sweet card, picture, and goodies to show our members that we are thinking of them. There is no doubt that these packages are well received as made apparent by the endless thank you cards and appreciative messages sent to the Masonic Home.
“They may not realize it now, but once they get out in the ‘real world,’ they will look back on their involvement with the IORG and be glad they shared these moments,” says Debbie.
Building a strong foundation around the idea of service empowers young minds to carry on their philanthropic ideals into adult life, and we thank the Missouri Rainbow Girls and the Order of the Eastern Star for working with us to bring a ray of sunshine to member’s mailboxes and make a world of difference this holiday season.