By Joseph Pratt
The Orient Lodge No. 337 of Portsmouth recently closed its Second Annual Back to School Fundraiser event, in which they raised money for school supplies for local children.
The organization was unable to meet their goal of $5,000, but reached three times what they did last year, just at $1,500. The money will purchase supplies for first graders in six local schools. The Orient Lodge supplies include pencils, crayons, erasers, scissors, and a glue stick, all of which are sealed in a pencil pouch.
“The community and Internet really came together,” Orient Lodge Secretary Greg Syroney said, when attributing success of the event.
The organization collected money through an online fundraiser through Go Fund Me and an event with Impressive Studios. The events were under the direction of Syroney, who has been involved with the Orient Lodge for just over two years.
Impressive Studios worked with the Orient Lodge for the second year to raise the majority of the funds. A special was held at the photography studio in which they offered special pricing on a packet of photos. Customers paid for the photographs and half the money went to the Orient Lodge’s fundraising attempts.
Local business Awesome Town, which is owned by Heather Whisman, also helped with fundraising attempts. Awesome Town has been heavily involved in benefits for children in their short one year of being open, with a philosophy of creating opportunities for kids in the Portsmouth area. Syroney met with Whisman and presented a certificate of appreciation and a gift card for her work.
“We are always trying to find new ways to help the kids in our community and there really isn’t anything more important than their education,” Whisman said. “A lot of parents aren’t able to deal with all of the expenses in today’s economy. I always feel like we, as a community, especially local businesses, need to help out as much as we can.”
Whisman took donations and raffled off a giant stuffed minion character from the movie “Despicable Me.” She is currently raffling off another one and taking donations to raise money for Christmas gifts for local children in need.
“I’d like to see even more community involvement next year,” Syroney said. “When people stand up to help, it shows the kids people care for them and that they are taken care of.”
More information on the Orient Lodge can be found at www.iooforientlodge337.org.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or @JosephPratt03.