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Local Masonic order raises thousands of dollars each year for Springfield Public School students

 Members of the Queen City chapter of the Free Runners present a check to the Springfield Public Schools Foundation
Queen City Free Runners
Members of the Queen City chapter of the Free Runners present a check to the Springfield Public Schools Foundation

The proceeds from an annual fundraiser are used to help kids get winter coats, access clothing and pay for school bus transportation.

A Masonic order in Springfield is working to make sure Springfield students stay warm in the winter.

The Queen City chapter of the Free Runners Masonic Order or FRMO has been supporting several local charities over the years, but it has a dedicated annual fundraiser for the Springfield Public School Foundation’s Coats for Kids program.

The event – featuring live music, a silent auction, a bike and car show and more – is held at American Legion Post 676, usually in late August.

“The funds that we take in go directly to the kids,” said Buckshot Forrest, chapter treasurer of FRMO. “And, they get a voucher for a winter coat, and that’s all they can use it for. Mom and dad can’t trade it in for cash value or anything, but there’s several local merchants around town that will honor it, and, if the coat is $25, it’s covered. If the coat’s $40, it’s covered.”

He said it’s a way for them to give back to the community and help kids who need it.

In recent years, the money they’ve raised has gone further. The Masonic Home of Missouri has matched those funds two to one.

This year’s donation was approximately $12,500. The Free Runners Queen City chapter has given over $60,000 to Coats for Kids and other programs in the last decade, including the bus transportation program, so students who don’t qualify for free bus transportation can still get a ride to school even if their families can’t afford to pay. Money also goes to the PTA Clothing Bank.

“Over the years, they’ve continued to raise more and more money, said SPS Foundation Executive Director Natalie Murdock. “So, it’s just been incredible, and we’ve had the opportunity to expand to help more than just that one program [Coats-4-Kids], which is really great for our students.”

Copyright 2023 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Michele Skalicky