NORWALK—Assisting those most in need is one of the many goals of the Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council 14360. As part of tradition, the council recently joined forces with five local councils from Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Westport and Wilton on Saturday, October 30, at the Family & Children’s Agency Community Connections Center in South Norwalk.
More than 500 brand new coats were distributed during the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids event. This event helps keep kids warm over the winter months by providing this necessity. The goal of the Coats for Kids program is to ensure that children in need across North America have a warm, winter coat. Through the dedication of councils across the United States and Canada, hundreds of thousands of new winter coats have been distributed to children since the program’s inception. Over 5,000 brand new coats were distributed by CT Knights Councils at nine different locations over the last month.
“While our society is pushing us to purchase items for the Christmas season, we don’t want to forget those that need basic necessities for the upcoming cold winter season,” said Project Chairman and Former District Deputy George Ribellino, Jr. “It’s great to see brother Knights come together from different councils to combine resources to help more people in need. I started this collaboration within my district back in 2015.”
FCA’s president & CEO, Rob Cashel adds, “Personally, and on behalf of Family & Children’s Agency, I cannot thank the Knights of Columbus enough for their generous efforts to secure over 500 new coats for our clients through their Coats for Kids Initiative. During these challenging times, I am truly grateful that there are groups like the Knights of Columbus that dedicate their time and efforts to meeting critical needs in our community.”
On the weekend of November 20 and 21 for the 2nd consecutive year, Council 14360 held a Food for Families Food Drive with students from The Society of St. Theresa at Cardinal Kung Academy. The food drive was held at St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk and the response was incredible. More than 1,200 pounds of food were collected for the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry in Norwalk. The food collected will help feed many Greater Norwalk families over the holiday season.
“While food insecurity has become an ever-increasing issue in the area due to the impact of the pandemic over the last two years, it is our responsibility to help lessen that burden. This is what Knights do—where there is a need, there are Knights close-by ready to jump in and do what we can,” said Council 14360 Grand Knight Anthony Armentano.
A few Council members started off the long Thanksgiving weekend on Wednesday, November 24, by assisting the St. Matthew Food Pantry with giving out 90 turkeys and hams along with hundreds of bags of groceries at the drive up Thanksgiving Food Pantry.
On Thanksgiving Day, after Council 14360 members helped usher, read and clean for the 9 am Thanksgiving Mass at St. Matthew. The Council also provided a Knights Of Columbus Honor Guard for the Mass. At the conclusion of the Mass, the council teamed up with Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 and the Catholic Daughters of the America’s St. Matthew Court 2640 to provide and deliver a Thanksgiving meal for the residents of Homes for the Brave for the ninth consecutive year.
“Our men and women both loved the food and we could not be more appreciative. What a blessing St. Matthew Council #14360, Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 and Catholic Daughters Court 2640 have been to us. All of us at Homes for the Brave are extremely grateful as you made the day very special for our residents,” said Homes for the Brave CEO/Executive Director, Vince Santilli.
On Black Friday, November 26, council members started off the day by going to Mass at St. Matthew. After Mass, four carloads of food collected at Thanksgiving Mass were delivered to Blessed Sacrament Pastor Father Skip Karcsinski. “Giving back to those in need during the Thanksgiving season is a blessing for our council. One of the most profound ways we can truly give thanksgiving to God is through serving others,” said Grand Knight Anthony Armentano.
The Council wrapped up the weekend, by hosting the Annual Keep Christ In Christmas Creche Blessing and Christmas Tree Lighting at St. Matthew Church. The newly planted Norway spruce was lit and dedicated in memory of beloved St. Matthew’s 4th Pastor Msgr. Walter Orlowski. New St. Matthew Pastor and Council Chaplain, Father Jeff Couture said the blessing. The St. Matthew Youth and Adult Choirs led all the faithful in song with beautiful Christmas carols. The St. Matthew Knights provided hot chocolate and cookies in the parish center Great Room to end the festive event. All parishioners received a free Keep Christ in Christmas pin as a gift from the council.
“As we enter the Advent season, it is a sincere and blessed reminder of the gift we all receive each Christmas in the celebration of the birth of Christ. The honor to serve others is a great and humble way to receive and share that Gift,” said Armentano.
The goal of the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Matthew Church in Norwalk is to perform acts of charity. Providing those in need with a range of support from financial to tactical help in dealing with a wide variety of challenges. Council members work together to foster the founding principles of our order: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. Our goal as a council is to continue to identify specific needs in our community and muster support and help to alleviate these challenges and hardships to the best of our abilities and resources.
(For more information, please go to kofc14360.net. If you are a Catholic man interested in putting your faith in action, join the Knights of Columbus online for free at kofc.org/joinus and use promo code MCGIVNEY2020)
By George Ribellino, Jr