Several community members were on hand for a donation from the Knights of Columbus Father Solanus Casey Council to the Parents Who Care nonprofit on July 13.

Several community members were on hand for a donation from the Knights of Columbus Father Solanus Casey Council to the Parents Who Care nonprofit on July 13.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

K. of C. makes donation to local nonprofit

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published July 27, 2022


MACOMB COUNTY — Twice a year, the Father Solanus Casey Council of the Knights of Columbus stops by some local nonprofits with a check that they say does a world of good by promoting friendship, opportunities and bowling.

The council, which is based at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores, assists a number of local organizations that aid those with mental impairments. On July 13, they delivered a donation of more than $1,000 to one such organization: the Fraser-based nonprofit Parents Who Care.

“The Knights of Columbus does a Tootsie Roll drive twice a year, on Palm Sunday and on the weekend of Columbus Day. It’s called our MI Drive, and we support the mentally impaired,” said Paul Desjardins, the grand knight of the Father Solanus Casey Knights of Columbus Council. “One of the charities we work with locally is a Fraser-based group called Parents Who Care. They take some of their charges and do a Tootsie Rolls drive in conjunction with our drive and we try to match the money that they collect.”

Parents Who Care was founded in 1974 and works to improve the lives of the mentally impaired community in the southern Macomb County area.

“This relationship with the Knights goes back more than 40 years,” said Diane Thomas, treasurer of Parents Who Care. “Our main activities include a bowling league with about 50 special needs adults, half of whom couldn’t be there if it wasn’t free. We pay for all of their bowling, and the ones who live at a group home come every Saturday. Those kinds of homes can’t afford to pay for bowling for that many people every weekend, so this (donation) is a huge help to us.”

Shannon McCalley, one of the members of the bowling team, was on hand for the donation and expressed how important the bowling team was to her and her friends.

“I just love it! You get out and see your friends. Parents Who Care are special people,” McCalley said.

Desjardins said they’ve been working with Parents Who Care for many years now.

“When I joined the council, the Knights of Columbus had been doing Tootsie Roll drives for practically eons. It’s always what we’ve done for our MI Drive. Today we are donating $1,093,” Desjardins said.

This donation is part of the council’s larger efforts to help those who have special needs.

“How much we collect varies each year based on how much we raise and what organizations we are supporting. This year, we also are supporting the Special Olympics, Kids on the Go and the Saint Francis Camp on the Lake (in Jerome, Michigan),” said Desjardins. “We like to support those who are mentally impaired. We think it’s a worthwhile cause and (these causes) particularly help kids who are challenged.”

Thomas said there is a lot people can do to help members of the community like those who come to Parents Who Care.

“Everybody on the bowling team gets a T-shirt, and we have a banquet at the end of the year with dinner and a DJ where everybody dresses up. We give out medals and trophies there, too,” she said. “We had a Christmas party before COVID, too, so we are waiting to see if we can bring that back, as well. We also help fund those who are going to camp by giving them $250 toward the cost.”

She added that something as simple as a bowling team can make an enormous difference in people’s lives.

“This impacts all of their lives,” Thomas said. “They can go bowling every Saturday and not have to worry about the cost. They all enjoy each other’s company and getting together with their friends.”

Desjardins hopes when people see the difference donations like this can make, they will stop and contribute noting that every little bit helps.

“When you see the Knights of Columbus on the road, throw a dollar in their can,” he said. “It’s wonderful thing, and know the money collected from chapters all over the country is going to help mentally impaired individuals in their local community.”