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 | Mitchell Palmquist

Coats for Kids

Knights of Columbus step up to help provide coats for kids in need

“Originally, Central Valley School District contacted the Knights of Columbus Supreme office in New Haven, Connecticut, saying they needed coats for kids,” said Tom Sokal, the District Deputy for the KoC Council in Spokane Valley and Colbert. This phone call started a chain of calls back down to the local level, when Sokal received the call from state level leadership of the Knights of Columbus.  He picked up the phone and called Central Valley School District. They told him there was a need for 300 to 500 coats in the district.

KoC Councils at St. Mary, St John Vianney, and St. Paschal stepped up to purchase coats. The Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus in Connecticut has an arrangement to purchase cases of 12 coats at a reasonable cost to Councils. St. Mary Knights purchased 16 cases; St. John Vianney Knights purchased seven, and St. Paschal purchased one case. For every case bought locally, the Supreme Council bought matching cases.

The three Knights of Columbus Councils purchased 24 cases of coats. The Supreme Council matched those purchases—which totaled 576 coats delivered to the three Councils to distribute to Central Valley School district students and to other recipients identified by each Council.

“For I and my brother Knights it is very fulfilling to be able to help people, and this is a community project,” said Tom Sokal.

The Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus tasked the Grand Knight at St. Mary, Greg Hanson, and Father Jeff Lewis, pastor of St. Mary, with an additional job: receive and distribute coats for Councils throughout the diocese. “We became the hub and central distribution center for Eastern Washington,” Lewis said.

St. Mary’s Knights were happy to help and give of their time to organize this effort and help pass along the cases of coats to their brother Knights throughout the diocese. “Christ by His example and His mandate tells us to give to service to the poor, those who are in need,” Lewis said. Echoing his fellow Knights’ sentiment about the desire to serve the community, Father Lewis said, “We don’t serve them because they are Catholic; we serve because we are Catholic.”