At 3:00 pm on Friday July 11th, IndyMac Bank was taken over by the FDIC after months of looking to collapse. According to FDIC Chairman Bair, this could be the biggest bank failure in US history with 10000 depositors losing $500 million in uninsured deposits. As the economic health of the country becomes more and more apparent, people are moonlighting just to get by with 4.17 million people in 2007 working a second job, a 5% increase from 2006. Some of our brothers are very likely a part of this 4.17 million people. With the amount of free time becoming increasingly tight, what can Lodges do to accommodate those brothers that may have fallen on hard times.
1. Introduce many activities during the year, not merely during Lodge meeting nights but on weekends, during other nights of the week, etc.
Giving more opportunities to feel included can fulfill many needs for men. We are, first and foremost, a Fraternity.
2. Divide the work out amongst many of the brothers so that man hours become less of a problem.
Work can be highly stressful and to add to this stress the only planner of an open Table Lodge can drive a man away from the Craft and become an outsider. Dividing the work up can give many brothers work, thus feeling included and can bring those brothers in that are not in the officer's line.
3. Give brothers support if they began to fall on hard times. This is not just financial support but can include, doing yard work, watching their kids, as well as other services.
One of the central tenets is relief or charity and we, as a Craft, must give support to all distress brothers in their time of need. This help need not be financial but can include many different services provided to the brother.
4. Keep brothers informed of what is happening at the Lodge and encourage them to come out to the Lodge if they have time.
The Lodge can act as a sanctuary from the outside world and can give him the need unwind from his day to day (and now night to night) life and can help him regain perspective.
This list is not exhaustive. In these tough economic times, the Craft can be the rock with which to anchor our brothers and to give them some much needed respite from the stresses of the world.