St. Matthew Knights put faith into action by helping children and families

NORWALK—Summer is usually a time for rest and relaxation but need knows no season so that is why the St. Matthew Knights of Columbus make sure to help whenever it is needed.

For eleven of the twelve years Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council #14360 has been in existence they have assisted or sponsored various events for Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) in Norwalk, which has included the Agency’s annual Foster Care picnic and outings to Bluefish games as well as a day of painting with teens and seniors. For the third straight year, the council donated funds from various fundraisers to sponsor and take part in FCA Child & Family Development Summer Outing on August 9 at Fodor Farm.

“FCA holds a special part in the heart of our council as the first organization we partnered with when our council was launched and it is great to see the friendship continue to grow over the last 12 years. They bring such a great service to Norwalk and we are honored to help them achieve their mission. I look forward to continuing that friendship for many years to come,” said Anthony Armentano Council 14360 Grand Knight.

The weather was perfect for a day which included arts and crafts, petting zoo, music and dancing, delicious lunch and of course the best ice cream in Fairfield County which was donated by Saugatuck Sweets of Westport and Fairfield. The children and the parents really enjoyed the outing as it was a chance for all the families to bond with each other and the staff at FCA. Members of St. Matthew Knights and a few of their family members ran the grill, prepared the salad and cut up watermelon for the families. In addition, the Knights and their families served the food and helped with clean up at the conclusion of the picnic.

Lisa Habasinski, the Manager of Community Engagement at FCA, says, “The Knights are such a great support to the agency, we value the friendship and partnership that has formed over the years. The event for Child & Family Development held on Friday is just one of the ways the Knights show true compassion to our agency and the community we serve.”

“FCA does a great job in supporting those of all ages from young children to seniors. One of my biggest joys since becoming a Knight of Columbus is being able to work with the great staff at FCA,” said Past Grand Knight and council liaison to FCA, George Ribellino, Jr.

FCA’s Child & Family Development programs provide home visiting programs and group activities to build community and strengthen families. These program focuses on the critical early years of a child’s life, birth to age 5, to support strong foundations for future success. FCA’s staff educate and equip new and growing families with resources that help them build nurturing relationships.

FCA is a nonprofit organization that provides programs to children, families, adults, and seniors to build better lives in Fairfield County and the surrounding areas.

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The following day, Saturday, August 10, the council hitched up their work boots, grabbed their rakes and wheel barrows, and went to work on beautifying the ground of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy. The Knights, parents and students spread over 70 yards of mulch for their playgrounds and gardens. In addition, council member Lee Pino brought his power washer and cleaned the walkways to the back playground. The Council enjoys helping the local Catholic Schools with manpower since they run on limited budgets,” said Ribellino

It was a large job made much easier by a large turnout from the Knights, who assisted some parents and students from OLF Catholic Academy. St. Matthew Knight’s member AJ Cossuto of AJ’s Landscaping Service, LLC donated his equipment to help move the mulch to the two playgrounds. Ribellino continues, “We are so thankful for Brother AJ’s expertise and generosity in donating his time and equipment to this project.”

This was the second year that Council 14360 assisted Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy. Carmel Bowron, one of the parents at OLF Catholic Academy, reached out to the St. Matthew Knights last year since she was familiar with their work at St. Matthew Church, All Saints Catholic School, Notre Dame Health and Rehabilitation Center and Malta House. Ribellino went on to say, “Our council loves to help the local community and we are always ready for put ‘Faith in Action’ and assist those in need.”

Grand Knight Anthony Armentano praised his brothers for their efforts. “I am so proud of my Brother Knights for always answering the challenge by helping those in need. They never back down from a challenge big or small.

The council uses the various talents of the members to take on large catering, repair and landscaping projects including remodeling a chapel, painting of rooms at Malta House and the mulching/landscaping projects at the local Catholic Schools and Notre Dame Health and Rehab Center. “We pride ourselves on giving back by using our various talents to help ease the burden of tight budgets for nonprofit organizations,” said Armentano

The goal of the Knights of Columbus Council at Saint 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.

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