Beaumont Lodge delivers barbecue to Some Other Place

Beaumont Lodge delivers barbecue to Some Other Place

Gage Barker and Dr. Harold Steward, 32nd-degree Masons of Beaumont Masonic Lodge No. 286, and their fraternity brothers accepted a mission three years ago – a mission to feed the hungry in Southeast Texas. Twice each year ever since, they have taken it upon themselves to provide barbecue chicken dinners complete with “all the fixings” to the local soup kitchen at Some Other Place (SOP) in Beaumont.

Steward said, “We provide 200 dinners of barbecue one-quarter chicken, potato salad, beans and the works for them.”

Steward says volunteers from the Lodge get up before the break of dawn on the days they are barbecuing, like on Friday, Oct. 3, the most recent chicken dinner delivery for the soup kitchen.

“We start at 3 a.m. barbecuing about 400 to 500 chickens,” Steward, a former local educator, said, explaining that they not only cook for SOP’s numerous visitors but also for employees of the generous entities that donate food and funds necessary to provide the chicken dinners, organizations like HB Neild & Sons Construction, Remax real estate, Sertino’s Restaurant, Universal Coin & Bullion and Market Basket. “It takes a while to barbecue over 400 chickens.”

“I’m really excited about this,” says Barker of the Lodge’s biannual endeavor. “It’s for a good cause, and we enjoy doing it.”

Charlie Snoek is the director of food and beverages at SOP’s soup kitchen in the Anne Rogers Vaxler Nutrition Center next door to SOP headquarters, which is at 1155 McFaddin Ave. in Beaumont. He says he appreciates the generosity of donors such as Lodge 286, without which there would be no food to serve the masses in need of sustenance.

“This is the third year they have been doing this,” Snoek says of the Masons. “I talked them into bringing all the fixings in early so we could have them ready. They brought enough potatoes for about 200 servings of potato salad and two cases of ranch-style beans.”

Snoek says SOP volunteers and staff made cake for dessert so visitors Friday, Oct. 3, got to enjoy a full meal. He said on normal Fridays, the center feeds about 175 people, but “word gets out” about special meals like the one provided by the lodge, so he expected more than 200 people. He even barbecued some backup chickens that were on-hand in freezers at the center to make sure no one would go without lunch for the day.

Volunteers like Gene Harbert, Evelyn Gerber and Charlie Chambers of the First Christian Church assisted in serving the delicious barecued chicken. Members of their congregation volunteer to serve food on the first Friday of every month at the soup kitchen.

Gerber says the food is “served with love.” Harbert agrees, and says she loves to volunteer at SOP.

“We get more out of it than what we put in,” she explains. “It makes you feel good.”

Barker concurs. He says his Lodge is honored to give and has long been home to great philanthropists and leaders of the community. In fact, according to Barker, Lodge No. 286 was the proud fraternity of the late Jack Brooks, the well-known and well-respected Democratic lawmaker from Beaumont who served Jefferson County in the U.S. House of Representatives for 42 years.

Barker wants to see the lodge’s membership grow, and encourages those interested in joining to ask about membership, hoping to inspire a new generation of brothers to join the Lodge’s esteemed ranks. Interested parties should contact the lodge at (409) 860-3332, or ask a member.

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