Working to help others
The Orange Order is deeply committed to helping those in need.
Charitable giving is an essential part of Orangeism and it is not insular. Certainly we have our own charities but we have also raised large sums of money for various deserving causes such as equipment for local hospitals, holidays for disadvantaged children and “third-world” relief. Of course we do not only give financially we also give of our time and talents. It is central to our ethos that as part of the community we provide a service to that community.
Annually the Order raises tens of thousands of pounds through its collections at church parades and similar functions to assist those in need.
Each year a specific cause is nominated for the Grand Master’s Charity Appeal. In 2003 the nominated charity is Cancer Research N.I.
The Lord Enniskillen Memorial Orange Orphan Society has a magnificent record for helping boys and girls who have been deprived of the love and the contribution of a parent, through death by natural causes or as a result of continuing violence in Northern Ireland.
It is the best known Orange charity, but there are many others such as the Sir George A. Clark Bart Memorial Bursary Fund which assists people through educational bursary.
The Orange Order also gives a special helping hand to families of members through its funeral fund and, through the work of the growing numbers of Orange Credit Unions, there is a real incentive for families to plan to improve their homes and amenities. The McCrea Memorial Trust Fund provides holiday accommodation for children.
The tradition of an Orange helping hand goes back for generations. A perusal of the papers for the troubled period 1920-22 shows special efforts by the Orange Order to help distressed Protestants, including many from Eire, who had lost their homes because of the terrible strife in the country at that time.
Again, during the Ulster troubles of the past 30 years, when many families, especially in Belfast, were dispossessed and had to move, the Order was prominent in alleviating hardship.
All this is well documented and is recognised by many members of the general public.
Not so well publicised are the many efforts by Orangemen and their Lodges in helping the local community and not in any narrow parochial sense. Bro. Brian Mitchell, from Belfast has done magnificent work in recent years in raising funds to provide holiday breaks for under-privileged children. District Lodges also do fine work in helping worthy causes and an example of this was provided in Markethill when a sponsored walk was organised to provide money for one of the units at Craigavon Area Hospital.
When brethren in Togo, which has a strong Orange movement, were looking help in purchasing a vehicle to carry out social and medical work in the interior of that country, Lodges throughout Ireland gave generously and succeeded in purchasing a custom built vehicle.
One could list numerous examples of our work for charity but it is sufficient to stress that charitable giving is happening throughout Orange Lodges in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on a daily basis.