“The proceeds will go to the children’s home in Macon ... to keep it going, because it is solely supported through Masons of Georgia,” said Harry Worthington, past master of John W. Akin Lodge No. 537 in Taylorsville. “This is one of our ways we’re going to try to raise money. It’s new for us. We had been doing other fundraisers in order to get money, such as cooking and selling tickets.
“... If we can get this [event] to grow and do good, we hope to [in the future offer] some scholarships here in Bartow County for children. That way, we keep some of [the money] here locally,” he said, adding there are seven Masonic lodges in Bartow, with a total of about 640 members.
While the Masonic Home of Georgia served children and the elderly when it opened in the early 1900s, the Grand Lodge decided to only enroll children in 1912.
According to www.masonichomeofgeorgia.com, “Since June 14, 1905 the Masonic Home of Georgia has served over 2100 children in need from the State of Georgia. The Home is located on 650 acres in Macon, ‘the Heart of Georgia.’ The ideal location makes it easily accessible to all of Georgia. The Home is [a] non-profit organization that is funded by the Masons of Georgia. Presently in Georgia there are 433 lodges with over 47,000 members.”
The upcoming 5K’s proceeds will go toward the Masonic Home of Georgia’s operational needs, some of which could include school supplies, clothing and food. For participants who sign up for Run for Kids by Saturday, entrance fees are $25. Afterward, the cost will be $30, with registration set for April 26 at 7 a.m.
“Ninety percent of these children come from broken homes,” said Jim Childress, chaplain of John W. Akin Lodge No. 537 and subdistrict ambassador to the Masonic Home of Georgia. “They’re either living with their grandparents and they can’t afford to keep them or their parents have had a bad time.
“Sometimes [when] we [care for] children, we keep them three months and sometimes we get children and we keep them 10 years. It’s just according to their needs. ... Once you’ve talked to some of these children, it will break your heart. If you’ve got one, it will break it. I guarantee you. Some of the stories that they tell [are very heartbreaking]. We asked one little girl one day ... ‘If you wanted one thing in life, what would you like to have?’ And she said, ‘You know, I just want parents to love me.’”
For more information about Run for Kids or to make a donation to Masonic Home of Georgia, call Childress, 770-712-7176; Worthington, 770-366-2442; or Alan Lane, 770-548-5828.