By Dan Kudulis
The first principle of the Knights of Columbus has always been Charity. Since their founding back in 1882, the Knights have looked for ways to positively impact their parishes, their local communities, their country, and the world. While the Supreme Office suggests many different programs and opportunities for Knights to do charitable work, the decisions on which charities and programs that each Council participate in are left to the local membership to decide, as different communities can have very different needs. Recently, our St. Elizabeth Seton Council #12144 has chosen two very different but very worthwhile organizations to support.
First, in conjunction with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and March for Life in January, the Knights organized a baby item collection to help support the Pro-Life work of the Sisters of Life, a religious order. The Sisters of Life recently established a location here in Phoenix, and as they ramp up their ministry, they are in need of lots of baby sundry items to provide to the young mothers and babies that they serve. Monetary contributions are also necessary for them to purchase those additional items that they may require as needs arise. On February 14th, through the generosity of the St. Elizabeth Seton Parish Family, the Knights were able to deliver two SUV loads of donated items, along with over $3600 in cash and gift cards. Manny Camilon, the Chairman of the event for the Knights, said, “The Sisters were amazed with the amount of donations brought to them. They could not believe that we were able to raise so much in one weekend at just one parish!” Another Knight that assisted with delivering the items said, “What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than by spreading the love of Christ to those in need, especially the unborn.” In addition to their Pro-Life work, the Sisters are also involved in College Student Outreach at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Formed in 1991 in New York by Cardinal John O’Connor, The Sisters of Life have steadily grown over the years, currently serving seven cities in the United States and Canada, with over 100 Sisters that hail from all over the world. For more information, please visit their website: www.sistersoflife.org
Second, the Knights and their red buckets were out in full force the weekend of March 19th and 20th, collecting cash donations for the first ever Parish Wheelchair Mission at St. Elizabeth Seton. In 2006, the Knights partnered with the American Wheelchair Mission to provide brand new, quality wheelchairs to those in need both here in the United States and around the world. Because they buy the wheelchairs in bulk and ship containers of 100 or more at a time, the net cost per wheelchair is only $150. Tom Kalchik, the Chairman of the Wheelchair Mission for the Knights, said, “Through our partnership with the American Wheelchair Mission, we can give the Gift of Mobility to those who otherwise would never be able to afford a wheelchair on their own. Being in a retirement community like we are in Sun City, I think a good number of our parishioners can relate to how a wheelchair can make a huge difference in the life of someone that needs it.” Since the partnership between the Knights of Columbus and the American Wheelchair Mission began, local Councils for the Knights of Columbus have raised enough money to provide over 100,000 wheelchairs to organizations like the VA, as well as to countries in need such as Mexico, Haiti, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Final totals for the collection were not available as of the writing of this article, but Brother Kalchik did say that the outpouring of support for this new program was overwhelming. Once the final donations are tabulated, the Knights will provide that information to our Parishioners through the Parish Bulletin. For more information on the American Wheelchair Mission, visit their website: www.amwheelchair.org
Like and Share!