This good deed sprang from a visit on the coast between two old friends that met in 4th grade at Farallone View School in approximately 1962. One lives on the coast and is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Half Moon Bay, the other lives in Kensington in Contra Costa county.
It was a sunny spring day and a lovely visit. The two friends hiked on the bluffs, ate lunch in Princeton and enjoyed naps on neighboring couches in the quiet, warm afternoon. During it all they talked and talked: catching up on grown children’s activities, world affairs and personal projects. One is an accomplished Sculptor who is part of a studio coop in Oakland, the other a Nurse Practitioner, adjusting to recent retirement. (Although only 4 weeks ago, the prolonged contact and movement around the community freely during this visit seem such luxuries now…)
One of the subjects discussed during the visit was the difficulty the Coastside resident had in choosing who should get awarded scholarships. The Odd Fellows of Half Moon Bay provide scholarships to coast side youth. The Odd Fellow member was on the committee which was in the process of choosing 5 recipients from 9 applications received from the HMBHS Local Scholarship Committee. Each scholarship is for $1,000, not as much as they would like to give but enough to help get started. The difficulty arose in that the applicants were ALL worthy of a scholarship!
The scholarship applications were written with candor, humor and heart. The students demonstrated motivation to better circumstances for not just themselves but for their families and communities. The students were looking at a variety of programs, including Welding Certificates, Car Mechanic training, MRI/Ultrasound Tech, Cosmetology, Early Childhood Education, etc. All the applicants worked at least one job to help support their families as well as going to school full-time. How to choose 5 out of the group of 9 deserving applicants? Back to the creed.
The Odd Fellow creed is old fashioned in its language but still inspiring, they are: “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan”. The local Odd Fellow Lodge has considered youth who lack support due to lack of income, divorce, deportation, death or who lack support from their community to be “orphaned”, in a sense. To the Odd Fellow member of the Scholarship Committee it felt like being in a lifeboat and having too few life rings for people still in the water……Odd Fellows made a pledge for 5, there are 9 great applicants.
The discussion and visit ended when one friend went to her Mother’s house (who still lives on the coast) for a dinner with her mother and then returned home to east Bay. Once home she discussed the scholarship selection quandary with her husband, retired businessman/entrepreneur Chris Hall. Chris manages a nonprofit community farmers market in Kensington and volunteers as a tutor to students in his local school district where his fluency in Spanish comes in handy.
Here’s the good deed: Chris promptly volunteered to donate $5,000 so that all 9 applicants will receive $1,000 scholarships to pursue their ongoing educational plans.
In this time of fear and isolation, Chris Hall’s generosity is reassuring and hopeful. Chris is matter of fact about his generosity, but to the Odd Fellows it is a Very Big Deal. Thank you, Chris!