CRESWELL – Today we live in the most connected time in human history, but more people are reporting depression and loneliness than ever before. 

Social benefit societies and fraternal organizations may just be part of the cure for the distance we perceive – and during Grange Month 2020, Creswell, Grange #496 and the more than 1,700 other local chapters of the organization across the country are highlighting just how membership can positively impact lives by “cultivating connections.”

National Grange President Betsy Huber said it’s important that people feel like they have real and meaningful relationships with others in their community for many reasons.

“There are health benefits to getting out and making friendships,” Huber said. “There are community benefits as people come together for common good. These connections we make while attending meetings and events of organizations such as the Grange are important touchstones in civil society.”

Huber said the theme of the annual Grange Month can also be used to discuss the way in which Granges create events that individuals can attend and create shared memories; being part of the organization opens doors for members to interact with legislators about issues of importance; and membership connects individuals to a long line of like-minded individuals who have done great work on behalf of rural Americans, farmers and others.

“We all want to know we’re connected to something bigger, and being a Grange member assures us of that,” Huber said. 

Creswell Grange has also held many other events that benefit the community in recent years. Those events have led our Community Service Book to winning second place in the State Community Service contest in 2019.

One of our most successful events last year was the cookie make-and-take event during spring break. Children rolled out and cut out cookies, Grangers baked them and the kids decorated and took the cookies home. 

In addition, Creswell Grange has hosted a series of community educational programs including family game night, monthly bingo and flea markets, as well as clothing and food drives for local organizations. We had a very successful spaghetti dinner. 

In this time of COVID-19, Creswell Grange has been asked to close. When we are able to open again, the meetings are the second Monday of every month. The potluck starts at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7 p.m. 

The first activity will be bingo on the third Wednesday. One of our newest events, senior social, is on the fourth Thursday of each month. We are providing a place for conversation and socializing for those of us who are over 50 years of age. We are also planning more dinner and our children’s mini pie-making classes will restart again, too. We hope you’ll join us in cultivating connections.

Our meetings are the second Monday of each month, and are more formal – we work to get business done. We plan for our next service event and discuss important issues. Meetings have some ceremonial elements; we prepare to work for the good of the community and remind ourselves that we strive to do well in all we do with our guiding principles of faith, hope, charity and fidelity.

For more information about Creswell Grange, visit our Facebook page, Creswell Grange #496 or contact Patrick Dearth, 541-520-5383.

Patrick Dearth is Creswell Grange master and wrote this for The Chronicle.