The Grand Lodge of New Jersey – Knights of Pythias
The Order of Knights of Pythias is an international, non-sectarian fraternal order founded by Justus H. Rathbone on February 19, 1864 at 914 E Street in Washington, DC. Rathbone based his order on the story and friendship of Damon and Pythias. He wanted to build a brotherhood united on the principles of Friendship, Charity and Benevolence that could help reunite a country torn by Civil War. The idea caught on and the organization grew quickly as men returned home from the war. On March 16, 1868 The Grand Lodge of New Jersey was founded by Samuel L. Read in Camden, NJ. He later went on to become the first Supreme Chancellor. Read was buried in Mt. Holy, New Jersey.
New Jersey Pythians, since their founding, have been working through the subordinate lodges in their communities across the Garden State to help those in need. Through community service projects, fund raising and charitable giving, NJ Pythians have a long history of notable service.
Charitable activities of the Grand Lodge function through a tax-deductible foundation, NJ Pythians Charities Foundation, Inc. Its purpose is to raise money through the subordinate lodges and donate that money to worthy charitable causes in an around New Jersey. Through the efforts of local lodges and lodge members, the Charities Foundation has raised nearly $1 million and distributed the funds to over 25 different charities including: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Deborah Hospital, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Autism Speaks, The Lymphoma & Leukemia Society, Alzheimer’s Association of Northern Jersey, The Alliance for Lupus Research, The Juvenile Diabetes Association, Mended Hearts Chapter #140 Bergen/Passaic, Arthritis Foundation, Jersey Cares, Camp Sunshine, the Center for Food Action, local food banks and local Emergency Service Units.
During the COVID Pandemic, the NJ lodges, have been focusing on raising funds and contributing to Food Banks and the Center for Food Action.
These are the Food Banks that have received donations of food and money:
- Center for Food Action
- Fair Lawn Food Bank
- Feed All God’s Children
- Trenton Area Soup Kitchen
- Samaritan Center
- Freehold Open Door
- Fulfill Food Bank
- Strangers Helping Strangers
Current activities are being maintained through regularly scheduled in-person/hybrid meetings.