The attached photo of my 2nd great grandfather shows him wearing several Italian Society Ribbons. I know it's hard to read, but I need translation of the writing on the ribbons. Its curious that the photo shows photographer was in Hawley, PA, but I can make out one of the ribbons has our city of Kansas City on it.
In general though, mutual aid societies were normally formed by newly arrived immigrants with other men from their own native villages. The earlier ones pretty much restricted their activities to traditional mutual aid-helping members financially in times of illness or helping a member's family when he died. These societies though also provided members with a weekend place where they could communicate with others from their native towns in their native dialects, where they could keep their old country customs alive, and basically with a place where they could socialize with others from their native villages. Some of these societies were actually offshoots of ones that had already existed in the native village. A lot of Italian immigrants though actually shied away from these, as they viewed them as charitable organizations and they preferred to reach out to other family members, and not strangers, in times of need. Ultimately, these societies also gave their members an opportunity to establish ties with labor agents, who could facilitate their job searches, and with small bankers who could help them with their savings and sending money back to their native country.