WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For Carlton Willis the Tamarind community of West Palm Beach is home.
It’s also the location of his home away from home - a Freemason Lodge, The Pride of Palm Beach Lodge #447.
Lodge Worship Master, Brother Carlton Willis says, "I’ve been a member here for about 16 years now."
In Willis’ words the Freemasons are, “A brotherhood. It’s the oldest Black fraternity.”
A big part of the brotherhood is giving back and “lifting up men to do good works,” other brothers like Avion Hale agree.
"It just feels great to know that there is love and support out there from Palm Beach County we have so much negativity that goes one that this is an opportunity to come together as one and help others," said Hale.
So when news broke last month about a devastating earthquake striking in Haiti just 11 years after a similar disaster, it didn’t take long for the lodge to organize an effort to send help from the ground up, starting with shoes. And when the call for a shoe drive went out the community answered.
"Didn’t you see it we had people dropping shoes off at the door, putting shoes in the bag and dropping them off at the door, you take care of your community, your community takes care of you," said Willis.
Bags and boxes of shoes quickly piled up in the located in the heart of the Tamarind community, an area that is no stranger to tough times.
"We are coming together, we’re coming together and we’re going to look out for each other, that’s how I want them to know Tamarind and always remember Tamarind," said Willis.
He wants the effort to inspire people beyond South Florida, to help those who need it.
"It’s a lifeline, like I told you, without your feet you can’t do nothing," said Willis.
And with a pair of shoes, he hopes struggling Haitians can take a few steps on the road to recovery.