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December 5, 2012

Knights of Columbus focuses on community

By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer

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Knights of Columbus focuses on community
Peter Wilhelm, grand knight of the Roseville Knights of Columbus council, shows off one of the two dozen coats that the council purchased to donate to Lighthouse Outreach Center as part of the knights’ Coats for Kids program.

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Knights of Columbus recently purchased two dozen winter coats in children’s sizes to donate to a local charity, as part of their ongoing effort to serve the community.

The donation to Lighthouse Outreach Center is part of the “Coats for Kids” program. It’s a program that the Knights of Columbus has done for several years, but it was the Roseville council’s first time.

“As grand knight, I said we should really look at what we can do to benefit the community we are a part of,” said Peter Wilhelm, of the Roseville Knights of Columbus Father Solanus Casey Council. “We were able to afford to participate in the coats program, so I proposed it to the council and they agreed with it. We really emphasize charity around the holidays and thought this would be a nice way to give back to the community.”

The donation will benefit Lighthouse’s mother and child program, and it comes at a time the organization says they need it the most.

“This time of the year, there are just so many needy people,” said Pastor Mel Gower, co-director of Lighthouse. Gower and his wife, Sandy, have been running their outreach program in Roseville for 26 years.

Lighthouse services thousands of people each month through its various programs. The senior family program feeds 2,100 families per month; the state commodities program feeds 3,000 people per month; the grocery program — for people who don’t qualify for other programs — provides groceries for 200-300 people per month; and their mother and child program — where the coats will go — provides food, clothing and toys at Christmastime for 800 children and 130 mothers each month.

“An organization such as ours can only provide so much through our efforts,” said Ken Warzybok, deputy grand knight of the Roseville council. “We’re hoping that our donation might help enlighten and inspire other fraternal organizations and individuals to help meet the growing needs of our friends at Lighthouse Outreach Center, so they can continue in their good works.”

Wilhelm explained that charity and support for the community are tenets of their group. The Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization of Catholic men, has four core principles: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. As grand knight of the Roseville council, Wilhelm places an important emphasis on charity and community.

“Even though times have changed, and they have gotten harder, we are still here to do our part in the community,” he said.

In addition to participation in the Coats for Kids program, the group puts together and delivers dinner baskets to needy families in the area during the holiday season, and they volunteer their time and money to various third-party programs and organizations throughout the year.

“There are a lot of organizations that do the same work we do,” Warzybok said. “They really are our brothers and sisters in charity. They inspire us, and I’m hoping we inspire them, and collectively I’m hoping we can inspire the community, because through this work, no matter what, it’s the community that wins. The community wins and that’s what matters.”

For more information on the Roseville Knights of Columbus Father Solanus Casey Council, call (586) 771-6260 or visit www.father solanuscaseycouncil.org.

For more information on Lighthouse Outreach Center, call (586) 776-1230. Donations of clothing, food and toys are accepted year-round and can be dropped off Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at the rear of the center, located at 28571 Gratiot in Roseville.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sara Kandel at skandel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1030.