Representatives of community service organizations recently attended the annual banquet of Odd Fellows Williamson Lodge, No. 20, of Wilton and Livermore Falls in Jay. From left, front, are Rebecca Arsenault, president of Franklin Memorial Hospital; Julie Shackley, chief executive officer; back, Rachel Jackson Hodsdon from Western Maine Homeless Outreach, Jim Bouchard, director of marketing and development for Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice; Kitty McDonald, from Wilton Area Food Pantry, Becky Wright from Good Shepherd Food-Bank and Raymond Bryant from Tri-Town Ministerial Food Bank in Livermore Falls.

 

JAY — The Odd Fellows Williamson Lodge, No. 20, of Wilton and Livermore Falls held its annual banquet at LaFleurs in Jay and made donations to local organizations who provide community services.

They included Western Maine Homeless Outreach in Farmington, Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, Good Shepherd Food-Bank, Wilton Area Food Bank and the Tri-Town Ministerial Food Bank of Livermore Falls.

“The whole idea is to help,” past Grand Noble Lawrence Wilbur of Farmington said. “It’s what the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is all about.”

The group has a long-standing tradition of helping others.

Dating back to 17th century England, a group of mostly working-class men began meeting and spent part of their time helping each other and their fellow man. Some thought that it was odd that a group of men would do these things and the name stuck, Wilbur previously said. From there, lodges were established all over the world.

The Odd Fellow Lodges in Maine date back to the mid 1800s and peaked in the 1920s, when membership across the state numbered in the tens of thousands, according to a history written by Franklin Community Health Network.

The Wilton and Livermore Falls lodges combined several years ago. Lodge buildings and lands were sold. With good investments made, Wilbur, who served as grand noble for 20 years, encouraged the annual gifts to area organizations.

Representatives from those groups usually talk about how they use the funds, he said.

“Hearing what they do is our reward,” he said.

Those attending the banquet included Rebecca Arsenault, president of Franklin Memorial Hospital; Julie Shackley, chief executive officer of Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice; Jim Bouchard, director of marketing and development for Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice; Rachel Jackson Hodsdon from Western Maine Homeless Outreach; Kitty McDonald from Wilton Area Food Pantry; Becky Wright from Good Shepherd Food-Bank; and Raymond Bryant from Tri-Town Ministerial Food Bank in Livermore Falls.

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