The values of Freemasonry are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole – both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
St James's Lodge No 448 has a Charity Steward who encourages the members of the Lodge to give and he, in turn, is supported by the Provincial Charity Team. The monies thus raised are applied to local, Provincial or the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Unlike many other organisations, Freemasons never ask the general public for money, nor do they make street collections or public appeals. The vast majority of the enormous sums raised by Freemasons each year come from their own resources; largely by regular monthly giving which the Lodge Charity Steward will be pleased to arrange.
In this Lodge, most of the funds raised are passed to a charitable company limited by guarantee, West Riding Masonic Charities Limited through the Masonic Province of Yorkshire. The company is responsible for the stewardship and distribution of these funds. Grants over recent years range from £100 to a Holmfirth residents’ association to purchase crockery to £30,000 to a Rastrick school to improve its hydrotherapy pool.
In addition, at each Masonic meeting there is normally an Alms collection to finance the purchase of small gifts for members or widows who are ill. Widows will generally also receive a small gift at Christmas and on their birthday.
There may also be a raffle at the festive board following the meeting for some specified beneficiary announced beforehand. The Lodge also organise collections or other special fundraising activities for a Festival or other authorised purpose.