Free turkeys for the holidays

Residents queue for free Christmas turkey.
Photo by Nelson A. King

In keeping with its objectives of assisting “those pure and lofty principles, which are in the interest of humanity,” the Brooklyn-based Independent United Order of Mechanics, Friendly Society, Western Hemisphere, Inc. on Saturday provided free turkeys for the holidays to members of the community.

According to Jamaican-born Glenver Jones, grand treasurer, the Order’s Charitable Foundation arm distributed 360 turkeys to community residents outside the Order’s Bedford-Stuyvesant headquarters at 65-67 Putnam Ave., Brooklyn.

“The reception was excellent,” Jones, who is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Business and Technology at La Guardia Community College, Long Is. City, Queens, told Caribbean Life in an interview, as a crowd gathered around a truck where the “goodies” were distributed.

“We anticipated a large turn-out because of the work we do in the community,” added Jones, disclosing that recipients, who presented coupons in order to redeem their turkeys, were notified primarily through area churches, day care centers and block associations.

He said the Order purchased the turkeys for $10,000, and that they were distributed between 1:00 and 4:00 pm on Saturday.

Jones said it was the first time that the Order launched such event on a “macro level,” adding that the fraternity hopes to make it an annual affair.

“We want the (wider) community to be aware of our function within the community,” he said, adding that the organization also wants the city to be “aware of the Independent United Order of Mechanics.”

Throughout the year, the Order offers assistance to others by, among other things, providing scholarships to high school students, hosting a community Thanksgiving Luncheon on Thanksgiving Day and conducting a toy drive during the Christmas season.

The Order, which was established in 1757, with headquarters in Lancashire in England, was later incorporated, with head office in New York City.

Jones said the Order – with branches in Europe, Central America and the Caribbean – has a youth sector in which “boys and girls between the ages of eight and 18 can join.”

The Adult section is referred to as lodge (for males) and chapter (for females), Jones said.

“The Order is open to men and women of reputable character; integrity; law-abiding; and, first and foremost, must believe in a true and living God,” he said.

Jones said he was grateful to Panamanian-born Councillor Cecileo Leacock and Jamaican-born Sis. Hyacinth Robinson for working with him on the “Turkey Project.”

He also expressed gratitude to other members of the fraternity for their support and cooperation, including Grand Master Jamaican-born Clive Ascar Sang, the executive committee, the district grand masters, and the “brothers and sisters who assisted with the program today (Saturday).”

Grand Treasurer Glenver Jones.
Photo by Nelson A. King

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