Now, now, jb! (I still say your only rival for names is the exceedingly late W.C. Fields)
My (not nearly so much)late husband, Roy, was a Mason, one of which of several memberships to which he belonged (it becomes a bit complicated/confusing to the unfamiliar)was Shriners. Children with various medical challenges have received medical care from Shriners Hospitals for almost 100 years. At one time, when there was no medical insurance, Social Security, union benefits, Crowd Funding, etc., Shriners chose to fund free hospitals for children who otherwise would have had to spend the rest of their lives physically limited because a very simple operation was unaffordable.
The term, crippled, is out of favor now--which is good. Babies receive better prenatal care, and conditions noted at birth are often corrected within days. Polio is an affliction of the past, but when it was a horrible feared disease, Shriners Hospitals provided free rehab to children for years. I heard, some years ago, a young woman's speech concerning her rehab after polio. She was experiencing post-polio symptoms, because the muscles which took over for the polio destroyed muscles were failing due to overusage. Rather than being bitter, or complaining about her eventual use of a wheelchair, she was grateful to her area Shriners Hospital. She explained that she was able to dance at her high school proms, walk down the aisle for her wedding, and play with her children when they were young.
If a child experiences a horrible fire, there is burn clinic to help the child avoid becoming a monster forever--surgery and rehab are available to avoid scars and movement limitations.
One of our friends retired from crafting artificial limbs for children a few years ago, and remains an active Mason and Shriner. Limbs are crafted at regular intervals as the child outgrows limbs over years of normal growth.
OK. First, jb, I know you don't have a mean intent ever, and I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable. Sometimes, Shriners are silly, corny, and appear out of date. However: Shriners clowns spend hours regularly in ridiculous clown outfits entertaining frightened children in Shriners Hospitals, some of whom don't speak English (if their country won't/can't help Shriners will).
Masons of their various organizations were exceptionally kind and helpful to Roy as Parkinsons caused unrelenting decline. They have continued to be available to me after nearly 10 years later if necessary.
All that is needed for membership, as I understand it, is a belief in A Supreme Being (not limited to Christians--other religions are included and welcomed--and an afterlife.)Also, all are equal brothers--social and economic status is not considered. Now this is not a big deal for us, but several 100s of years ago in Europe, the idea that all social classes were the same, and religious differences were not important, was an exceptionally big deal. I was amazed to discover how many Masons were involved with forming our USA nation.
I'm sorry this is a rather long, and probably boring, lecture but I wanted everyone to know how Masons do good. Any man (there are related womens' groups) who is interested should investigate. They do not solicit/recruit--an interested person needs to contact them. Some religions forbid Masonic affiliations, and this is why their membership rolls are secret so their members are not betrayed.
I always defend Masons (altho I have never been requested, let alone encouraged to do so) against ignorant accusations.
The 19 Avenue Shriners Hospital was moved to the Sacramento area, and that is why the condos are on that site today. With various insurance plans, Social Security, state assistance, etc., if any assistance is still needed, Shriners will coordinate and provide additional help if necessary. If you know of a child under 18 in need, consider Shriners.
Thank you for reading all of this. I hope it has been informative, and helpful. If I have helped even one child as the result of my information here, it is far more worth any criticism, anger, and even being banned from this site.