THE Masonic Charitable Foundation, with the help of Essex Freemasons, has awarded a £100,000 grant to support the East Africa food crisis appeal.

It comes amid an urgent appeal for famine relief with more than 20 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia on the brink of starvation.

The MCF responded to the appeal within hours by giving £100,000 to Plan International on this week.

Since the launch of the appeal, the public and many other organisations have contributed to this crisis.

The UK Government has pledged to match pound for pound the first £5 million of public donations to the appeal which means every pound given by the MCF with support from Essex Masons has been immediately doubled.

Rodney Bass, Provincial Grand Master for Essex Masons, said: “Our members have pledged to support the MCF and we hope to be raising an additional £5 million between now and 2022 to ensure that this charity continues its good work.

"It is a living Charity helping national appeals such as this as well as dozens of local charities across Essex.

"It is good to see that our money is used where it matters most, helping people in real need and I am proud that Essex Masons are backing this very worthy cause.”

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation said: “The crisis in East Africa is one of the worst we have seen in many years and funds are needed now to provide lifesaving support to those affected.

"The Masonic Charitable Foundation is proud to be one of the first organisations to support this urgent appeal by providing a £100,000 grant to Plan International UK on behalf of Freemasons across England and Wales.”

Tanya Barron, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: “We’re enormously grateful to the Freemasons for their very generous grant. More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. This grant will help us reach affected children and their families with urgent support.”