Russ Kreinbring, of the St. Francis Camp on the Lake; Joe Gomez, of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Knights of Columbus; Gary Goodin, of ASPIRE; John Healy and Diane Thomas, of the Parents Who Care Club of Macomb County; and St. Pio of Pietrelcina Grand Knight Tom Simun pose for a photo after the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Knights presented the three organizations with donations to help their programs.

Russ Kreinbring, of the St. Francis Camp on the Lake; Joe Gomez, of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Knights of Columbus; Gary Goodin, of ASPIRE; John Healy and Diane Thomas, of the Parents Who Care Club of Macomb County; and St. Pio of Pietrelcina Grand Knight Tom Simun pose for a photo after the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Knights presented the three organizations with donations to help their programs.

Photo by Donna Agusti


K of C donates funds to help people with intellectual disabilities

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 21, 2019

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ROSEVILLE — On May 14, the Knights of Columbus chapter at St. Pio of Pietrelcina Catholic Church in Roseville presented checks to three local organizations that aid people with intellectual disabilities.

The donations went to the Parents Who Care Club of Macomb County, ASPIRE of Roseville and St. Francis Camp on the Lake based in Jerome, Michigan.

“I’m glad we can help somebody. I hope to continue to help them for many years,” remarked the chapter’s grand knight, Tom Simun. “We’re not only based on faith, but also on charity and hope. Our members in our council did a great job on the Tootsie Roll Drive this year. There are people out there, no matter what religion you are, who need help. We really believe that sharing is caring.”

The chapter always gives to groups that aid people with intellectual disabilities, because they often face challenges that aren’t well-known. The chapter members said the three groups that received money this year make a real difference in the lives of those they serve.

“Parents Who Care are always there to help us with the drive, whether it’s collecting money or buying Tootsie Rolls,” said drive organizer Joe Gomez. “St. Francis Camp has several members who are Knights of Columbus too, and we’ve worked with them for a long time. As for ASPIRE, they have been in Roseville and Eastpointe for a long time and do a lot of great work, just as the other two groups do.”

The Knights of Columbus chapter was able to donate $1,667 to each of the three groups.

“We rely on the Knights of Columbus heavily,” said Diane Thomas, the treasurer of the Parents Who Care Club. “Our main purpose is to host activities for special-needs adults. We host events like a bowling league at Rose Bowl Lanes. There’s 54 people on the team, and most are from group homes. Group homes can’t pay for the program themselves, so the Knights of Columbus money does. It guarantees one social outing for them each Saturday afternoon.”

“We’ve gotten several awards from the Knights of Columbus groups from various communities,” added Gary Goodin, the president of ASPIRE. “They’ve always been very kind to us and we always enjoy the Tootsie Rolls.”

ASPIRE hosts monthly outings for members of the mentally challenged community in Roseville, Eastpointe, Fraser and St. Clair Shores. As one example, the organization is taking its members on an overnight trip to Mackinaw City in June.

“We have one fundraiser a year, and the rest of our funds come from donations like this one,” said Goodin. “We’re always looking for members and volunteers, and we want to help as many people as we can.” 

Russ Kreinbring is a representative for the St. Francis Camp and a former president of the camp. He said that giving those with special needs a destination where they can have fun can be the most important thing in the world.

“We’ve got 10 weeks of camp, with each group of campers attending for one week,” explained Kreinbring. “We have groups for kids 7 to 17, and another for adults. We offer a one-on-one experience, so each camper has a counselor who comes from different universities, often studying to become special education teachers.”

He, too, said the work they do wouldn’t be possible without the Knights of Columbus.

“The camp and the Knights of Columbus have a strong working relationship,” Kreinbring continued. “We even have a hall named in their honor at the camp. We definitely rely on their support and donations.”

Several organizations such as the Knights of Columbus have encountered difficulties in selling their goods or soliciting for funds because of new laws in Michigan, and other ordinances in individual communities that curtail selling or soliciting in the streets or on street corners. 

While many communities allow groups to petition the local municipal leadership to allow them to do so, the St. Pio of Pietrelcina chapter didn’t have to go through the process by avoiding the corners altogether. 

“The Knights are mostly older, so they shouldn’t be collecting in the streets,” explained Gomez. “We try to stay on storefronts and collect there so we didn’t have to ask the city for permission to collect on the corners this year.”

Each group thanked the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Knights for their hard work and generosity.

“We rely on the Knights of Columbus, who donate money and let us keep going,” said Thomas. “We probably couldn’t do any of this without them.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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