Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Mission and Purpose
Who are the Odd Fellows?
The Thomas J. Rusk Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Heights Lodge #225 is a fraternal 501(c)8 organization dedicated to improving and elevating the character of humankind; to aiding our community and the world; to aiding the less fortunate; supporting the youth of our community; aiding our own members in times of distress; to supporting science and research foundations for the elimination of diseases and poverty; and to supporting the betterment of our community in every way possible. Our bywords are Friendship, Love and Truth (F, L & T).
What is the history of the Odd Fellows?
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819 by members of the Order from England who instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. At that time, the city was suffering both a yellow fever epidemic and mass unemployment so they dedicated the organization to "Visit the sick, relieve the distress, bury the dead and educate the orphans."
Odd Fellowship became the 1st national fraternity to include both men and women when it adopted the beautiful Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851. This degree is based on the teachings found in the Holy Bible. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were also the first fraternal organization to establish homes for our senior members and for orphaned children.
Today, Odd Fellows continue to exist with nearly 10,000 lodges in approximately 26 countries consisting of men and women who united together for mutual aid and conviviality, providing social and practical support for each other and their communities in every way possible. Working together to achieve these goals and help our fellow men creates a bond that cannot be described – a brotherhood and sisterhood of benevolence that can only be felt as an active participant.
What causes do we serve?
Local causes of the Lodge include volunteering for the Houston Food Bank and participating in the restoration and maintenance of Olivewood Cemetery working with the 501(c)3 Descendants of Olivewood, Inc. The Lodge is currently seeking input for new volunteer opportunities, with an eye towards Heights area non-profits and service organizations. In addition, the Lodge pays dues to the National Association of Odd Fellows supporting numerous charitable efforts and humanitarian endeavors such as scholarships, student loans and grants, nursing homes for the elderly, family and youth summer camps and annual donations to charities.
What events do we sponsor?
We sponsor an annual National Night Out affair to engage and support our local community. The Lodge also holds fund-raising events several times a year to support it’s activities and facilities. These include a chili cookoff in the Spring, “Sausagefest” in September, and other activities such as yard sales and membership social gatherings.
Internationally, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows are involved in numerous charitable efforts and humanitarian endeavors such as scholarships, low-interest student loans and grants, low-cost nursing homes for the elderly, family and youth summer camps and annual donations to charities. Our lodge supports many of these activities with annual dues payments.
Can I become an Odd Fellow?
Yes. A member must nominate you for membership. Our lodge has a Meet & Greet on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30 pm. We invite any who are interested in learning more about us and possibly joining to attend.
Ideally, an Odd Fellows lodge is a place for fellowship in all its forms, from hanging out and just having fun, to discussion, to networking, to collaboration on creative and constructive projects, all with an eye not only on our own satisfaction but on what we might offer to the community at large. An ideal lodge is a great venue for a lot of positive energy and all members are encouraged to contribute their share. In addition, lodges provide an international social network of brothers and sisters that extends to more than 26 countries worldwide. If traveling is an interest, membership can provide a valuable network that will very much welcome an international visitor, and assist in their enterprises, and certainly their travels wherever possible.
For more about the history of the IOOF see: Wikipedia