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    Where There’s a Need, There’s a Knight

    From funding meals for kids, supplies to vets, masks to rehab centers and leading prayer services, these Knights — united in charity — did it all.

    By Andrew Fowler 6/1/2020
    Other Knights in Connecticut are helping their neighbors, including St. Peter Council #14590 in Higganum. Image by Spirit Juice Studios.

    George Ribellino, a Knight of Columbus from St. Matthew Council 14360 and Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 in Norwalk, Conn., wanted to do a “little bit of everything to try and make a difference” during the COVID-19 pandemic. And that’s just what he and his brother Knights did.

    They donated $500 and food to Filling in the Blanks, a service that typically provides weekend meals to children in need. But now, due to the pandemic, the charity is providing meals to children for the full week.

    “That puts a lot of pressure on them because, normally, they’d only do weekends. So we saw the need out there,” Ribellino said.

    The Knights also saw a need at a local non-profit, Homes for the Brave, which provides housing, vocational training and life skills coaching to help individuals leave homelessness behind. They needed cleaning supplies and funds, which the Knights donated.

    The council supported local essential workers as well, bringing meals to medical staff at Norwalk Hospital, supermarket employees and the local fire and police departments. 

    “Everybody kind of forgets that any person who is ‘essential’ out there is putting themselves at risk for us,” Ribellino said, noting that the K of C’s Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative also includes “thanking those who are actually putting their lives on the line for us. That was the big initiative we wanted to take part in.”

    The effort by St. Matthew Council 14360 and Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 exhibits one of the core principles of the Knights of Columbus: unity. As Knights of Columbus’s founder Father Michael J. McGivney believed, by promoting unity “members would gain the strength to bestow charity on each other.”

    Ribellino and his brother Knights were certainly unified in the efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. They heard about a need for masks at the Notre Dame Health and Rehabilitation Center in Norwalk. The Sisters of St. Thomas of Villanova, who run the facility, couldn’t buy supplies, especially elastic, to make them. So Ribellino put out an email blast to the Knights.

    “I sent the email and within ten minutes I was getting people saying ‘oh yeah, I have some,’” Ribellino said. “Everybody felt like they wanted to do something. This made us feel like we were doing a little something.”

    With the amount of elastic collected, the nuns were able to make several hundred masks. 

    Ribellino and the Knights have also been hosting a daily rosary on Facebook live to fulfill the spiritual needs of members and the community due to church closures. They are also making a weekly check-in call to check in with each other and ensure each other that they all are well.

    Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email knightline@kofc.org.

    Originally published in a special bi-weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. To access Knightline’s monthly archives, click here.

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