With many families with young children continuing to struggle in these challenging economic times, there has never been a better time for Knights of Columbus Councils to help by providing warm winter coats to children in their communities through the Order’s Coats for Kids program.
For the last winter season, nationally over 800 Knights of Columbus councils purchased and distributed the coats. In addition the Supreme Council also purchased 5500 coats that were sent to several state councils for distribution, for a total of over 30,000 coats given out nationally. Since the program’s inception, the Knights of Columbus in the United States and Canada has given away 150,000 coats to children in need.
This winter our local Council, #13341 Saints Cosmas and Damian, was the only Council in the Venice Diocese to continue in this wonderful program, since 2012. This Annual Event is held in honor of our late brother David Walsh, who founded the program at our our Council. An anonymous donor gave a significant donation to make sure to have enough coats. This year close to 200 coats went to Sister Maria Gema for the youth at St. Michael’s Church in Wauchula. Coats for Kids Co-Chairmen, William Rempe and Ray Makovec, and Grand Knight Sam Bastianelli expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to orchestrate this program, in our area. Our Council gave additional funds to Sister Gema for her youth education programs at St. Michaels
“The look on the children’s faces as well as the parent’s faces is priceless because they are so appreciative,” said Sam Bastianell our Grand Knight. “This was a great feeling for the kids and the response was fantastic.”
St. Michael’s Church in Wauchula is one of the poorest parishes in the Diocese of Venice with Sister Maria Gema leading family activities there. Each child’s coat was hand-picked by her for fit and style with their names attached. The response was wonderful with 100 people from the parish in attendance.
Anyone interested in helping the religious sisters at St. Michael Parish can do so by contacting Sister Gema at: St. Michael Parish, Attn: Sister Gema, 408 Head Bridge Road, Wauchula, FL 33873.