Each year the Grand Master and First Lady are tasked with picking a charitable focus for their term. In November of 2021 Grand Master Timothy S. Wheeland and First Lady Kim Wheeland chose the Children’s Hunger Alliance as their charitable initiative. In this interview First Lady Kim expresses how grateful she is for the Ohio Masons and their communities who have made this charity their top priority this year. Read the entire feature to find out how you and your Lodge can support this great effort and help end food insecurity in our state.
Why did you and the Grand Master select the Children’s Hunger Alliance as the charitable focus for this term?
We wanted to choose a charity that makes an impact across the entire state of Ohio and that had a proven record of making a difference. The thought of hungry kids is a sad and upsetting thought, and we saw this as a way to help our communities, and more importantly, help the next generation.
What is your role with the CHA charitable initiative?
My role is to help spread the word about what this organization does and what they are about. I speak at every reception about the Children’s Hunger Alliance – giving the brethren and their spouses information and statistics on childhood hunger and how the CHA assists with providing nutritional meals and education to those in need.
How has charity impacted the lives of Ohioans?
Charitable giving has improved the lives of many Ohioans – whether it is food, shelter, or donated goods. There are so many needs that need to be filled, and I feel that people really do want to help and support one another. The Children’s Hunger Alliance helps fill a gap that our local communities really need: feeding hungry children.
The Children’s Hunger Alliance has identified that one in four children do not know where their next meal will come from – that is almost 700,000 children in the state of Ohio. CHA works with schools, day care providers, and other organizations to distribute meals to those children who are hungry. Through donations and volunteers, the CHA is making children across the state less hungry, and less hungry children will do better in school. We hope that these efforts will break the cycle of poverty that so many families experience in our communities.
How have local Lodges and Ohio Masonry contributed to the effort?
Individuals, Lodges, Masonic districts, and other Masonic organizations have been raising money various ways including “passing the hat” at Lodge meetings, holding charity breakfasts, donating from charitable collections, and conducting events to raise money for this wonderful cause. Each district has donated money at our annual Grand Master’s Receptions and the Ohio Widows Sons, a Masonic motorcycle riders association, contributes at each reception as well.
Are there any updates you would like to share on the progress of this charitable initiative?
We have been so blessed with the response that we have received to our fundraising efforts for the Children’s Hunger Alliance. Ohio Masons have been so generous with their donations and there are still a number of receptions to go and a few other fundraising events being planned for this summer as well.
Tell us about a moment that captures the importance of picking the CHA as your initiative.
The moment that my husband, Grand Master Timothy Wheeland, and I realized that we wanted to support the Children’s Hunger Alliance was when we met with Cindi Marshall, the Vice President of Development for CHA. We wanted to find out how the CHA operated, how money was spent and what Ohio counties were covered. We met with Cindi one morning over coffee and she started to describe what they do, how the organization pivoted to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, what the volunteers do, and how many children were impacted by the work they do. By the time she was done, we were all pretty choked up. As Tim and I left the meeting, and were walking across the parking lot, we looked at each other and said, “this is it, this is the charity we want to support.”
Can you share any upcoming events with CHA?
There is still time for anyone who wants to donate to this wonderful cause by making a check payable to the “Grand Lodge Charitable Foundation” and including “Grand Master’s Charity” in the note field of the check. The check can be sent to the Grand Lodge office at:
Grand Lodge of Ohio
One Masonic Drive
Springfield, Ohio 45504
Donations can also be made to the Grand Lodge Charitable Foundation on our website by adding “Grand Master’s Charity” in the comments section of the form.
There is also an upcoming Grand Master’s Motorcycle Ride on June 18th where hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts will ride together in support of this organization. Information on this event can be obtained by sending an email to the Grand Master, Tim, at TimWheelandGL@gmail.com.
Later this year, probably in August, we plan to organize an event where we will present a check to the Children’s Hunger Alliance for the donations that we have received across the state. We are looking forward to providing them with the funds and showing them how much Ohio Masons care about our children and our communities.
After Tim has completed his term as Grand Master I plan on volunteering with CHA, in whatever role they need filled.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to begin a local charitable effort but may not know where to start?
I would suggest that they start with examining what they are passionate about and what cause they really want to get behind to support. They need to ask themselves if they want to make an impact locally or statewide.
They should also start by searching for organizations that are already established in their communities. Whether it is feeding the hungry, homelessness outreach, job training, animal rescue, child abuse, domestic violence, or veterans causes.
They should find an organization that they agree with and that they can support. They should then reach out, discuss their ideas and plans, and ask them what is the best way that they can help. Sometimes it is not money that organizations need – sometimes all they need are volunteers to help execute their mission.
Want to read more about the Children’s Hunger Alliance? Read our feature on the Grand Master and First Lady’s charitable focus for the term.