Skip to main content
NewsOhio FreemasonryCharity

A Recipe For Success: How To Start a Local Charity Event

By July 30, 2020August 21st, 2020One Comment

Philanthropy events range significantly on size, style, and impact, but one thing remains the same; the goodwill they bring. Jim Easterling of National Lodge #568 describes the fundraiser his Lodge puts on during their town’s annual Mum Fest. Read on to discover the changes that helped this Lodge earn a 500% increase in their charitable funds.

Q: Can you tell us more about your Lodge? 

A: I Belong to National Lodge #568 in Barberton, Ohio, and I serve as Fundraising Chairman. In the town, there’s a 5-acre lake with houses and businesses surrounding it, and every year the town hosts their annual Barberton Mum Festival. It’s a chance for the community to come together, and it centers around the plants and local businesses.

Q: What has your Lodge’s charity efforts looked like in the past, and how have they evolved?

A: In the past, we wouldn’t do much, the occasional spaghetti dinner or something similar in the Lodge, but we’d never raise a lot of money; $200 to $400 at best. 

One year, I decided we should make use of the front portion outside of our Lodge during Mum Festival, and came up with the idea of selling fried bologna sandwiches. At first, people weren’t too sure about it, but once we saw that people liked coming to our stand because we were offering something unique that everyone can relate to, people started coming in droves. 

Q: Since starting this fundraiser, how has it grown, and what are you doing with the money? 

A: Since 2006, we’ve raised over $175,000 for charity selling fried bologna sandwiches. We’ll give money to Special Olympics, Job’s Daughter, DeMolay, Grand Lodge Scholarship, MMSAP, Ohio Masonic Home, and other local charities.This stand is now our signature fundraising event we do every year that people love. And now, we’re a staple in the community, especially during Mum Festival.

Q: What advice would you give to another lodge wanting to do the same for their charity efforts?  

A: Things like our bologna sandwiches or the spoof degrees of the Muskrat Dinner and Oyster Lodge Dinner are what bring freemasonry into the communities and get people out traveling and meeting each other.

There are so many lodges in Ohio and the Northern Jurisdiction that have so many unique fundraisers that may be inspiring to other Lodges. For a simple thing like fried bologna weekend, we net around $12,000 average that goes a long way to help others. And it all starts with sharing an idea with your Lodge and being inspired by the larger Masonic community.

Q: What other positive outcomes have come from the fried bologna sandwich fundraiser besides the money raised for charity? 

A: People come for socializing and wanting to be part of something bigger. At first, I thought we would need eight people to run the stand; now we have 50 people (men, women, children) that help because they love to be a part of it. We’ve also gone from just having sandwiches to now selling cooked sweet corn, and now we offer so much that we’re a title sponsor of Mum Festival, people look for us, and we’re a part of the community. 

We also expanded to having vocalists attend to sing the National Anthem each morning and to see everyone stop all at once to hear the National Anthem, put their hands over their hearts, and have a moment together is so special to see. It started with having an idea to be out in the community instead of staying inside our comfort zone.

Have you attended the Barberton Mum Festival before? We’d love it if you shared with us your most favorite photo, maybe even one with a fried bologna sandwich. Find us at @grandlodgeohio on Facebook, @GrandLodgeOhio on Twitter, or email us at 

Please mark your calendar now for the 2021 Mum Festival—September 25 -26, 2021.