Brethren, since 27th April 2020, a number of our Middlesex Mark Members have been instrumental in the organising, setting up, and the production of over 65,000 meals for distribution among homeless, disadvantaged, and refugee members of our society in Middlesex.
Bro John Briggs of the George Parker Lodge, No. 1316, through his enquires as Provincial Grand Charity Steward in the Craft, found a charity called “Sufra NW London” (www.sufra-nwlondon.org.uk ), who are based in Brent.
The operation started with Bro John driving to Brent in the morning to pick up donated food, delivering it back to the Uxbridge Centre, where it was cooked by the Centres chef, Martin.
Unfortunately, through Covid, and a family bereavement, our resident chef could no longer carry on with the cooking of the food.
This left our team with a dilemma, where would they find a replacement chef, through Bro John’s diligence, he negotiated a compromise with the charity we are assisting.
Their chef, named Prince, who worked in their small community kitchen, would come across to Uxbridge daily in order to cook the meals.
Sufra Community Kitchen
Once cooked the meals are portioned and placed in cartons by our team of volunteers and packed into thermo bags, then delivered back to Brent by Bro John for onward distribution to the end clients, all within a two-hour window.
The number of the all vegetarian meals prepared, depended on demand, but could be anywhere between two and four hundred meals a day.
The volunteer helpers who assist daily are 50% Middlesex Mark Men who are Members of Uxbridge units, or are Craft members, who are waiting to be Advanced into the Mark Degree, having experienced the commitment and camaraderie amongst our Membership.
Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Edward R Garty and other members of the Executive visiting Uxbridge Centre to view operations
Two Mark Lodges in particular have been instrumental in the formation and smooth running of this huge operation, they are the George Parker Lodge, No. 1316 (the newly formed golfing lodge) and Temple of Uxbridge Lodge, No. 1393, who have both donated funds and huge investment of time and energy helping this well deserving charity.
Sufra food bank & kitchen is a local charity, established in 2013 to address both the causes and consequences of impoverishment in the community.
Based on St. Raphael’s Estate, Brent’s most disadvantaged neighbourhood, their Community Hub provides a life-line for people in crisis, including families living in extreme poverty and people who are vulnerable, homeless and socially isolated.
They provide food and support that is urgently needed to survive, they empower them to learn new skills and improve their wellbeing, and help them find work and become financially stable.
By working together and harnessing the goodwill of their neighbours, they build a stronger community where no one suffers alone in silence.
Without wishing to embarrass any of our Members, I think we should acknowledge their huge commitment in time to this cause, bearing in mind this initiative stated its operation on the 27th of April last year and has produced over sixty-five thousand meals, these chaps have given their time and energy, 4 – 5 days a week, according to demand, amassing over 200 volunteering days.
Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Edward R Garty, with Bro John Briggs and W Bro Peter Hyde APGM
Bro John Briggs of The George Parker Lodge and W Bro Andy House of the Temple of Uxbridge, being the two most involved are to be commended in their commitment, we should also acknowledge W Bro David Dobbs, a London Mark man, who is committed to joining George Parker, and Chris Hall of the Little Britain Lodge, No. 8101, also waiting to be Advanced, when this current Suspension is lifted.
Our Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Edward R Garty and other members of the Executive have visited Uxbridge to thank our involved members personally, he also stated that Middlesex Mark will be looking to support this wonderful initiative even further in the future.