The money to buy it came from a mammoth £60,000 collection from donations made by Shropshire’s lodge members including from Shrewsbury’s The Salopian Lodge of Charity.
Some of the proceeds have been spent on a new van for the Shrewsbury Food Hub to replace its rental vehicle as part of an effort to support food bank services in the community.
As a result of the coronavirus crisis, The Food Hub has changed its operation into a van service and said the generous donation from the Salopian Lodge of Charity will enable it to keep on supplying food.
Shrewsbury, the Salopian Lodge of Charity, No. 117, has provided £21,000 to cover the cost of the van.
Master of the Lodge, Ron Gee, said: “Since the lodge was formed 210 years ago, its members have been a part of the community and have stepped up when needed to help those who are coping with difficult times.
“We are delighted that we are able to help the Shrewsbury Food Hub in this way and thank them, their partners and the many volunteers who help with such magnificent work.”
Other sums donated include £26,300 from Shropshire Masonic Charitable Foundation and matched by £12,500 from the national Masonic Charitable Foundation to which every member contributes,
Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance co-ordinator Emily Fay explains: “Over the past few months there has been an increase in the numbers of people struggling to afford food. Food banks and community organisations across the county have worked hard to help those in need, but they rely on the community for continued donations.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on local families. In Shrewsbury alone, Universal Credit registrations increased from 229 in March to 1,188 in April.
“We are grateful to the Masons for their support at this critical time.”
The alliance is a consortium set up to tackle food poverty across Shropshire by helping food banks to support residents suffering financial hardship.
Provincial Grand Master of Shropshire’s freemasons Roger Pemberton added: “Every penny that Shropshire Freemasons have raised to help food banks (and every hour they have worked to produce and distribute PPE to care homes) is dedicated to the real heroes, those who dedicate themselves to the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable in our county.
“We thank and salute them all.”