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The Gift of Sharing


Knights of Columbus Join with New Haven police and firefighters to give coats to kids

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson joined Connecticut Knights, as well as firefighters and police from New Haven, Conn., to give out new winter coats to children in need at John S. Martinez Magnet School. The event served as a kickoff for an initiative by the Knights and the New Haven police and fire departments to supply safety personnel with children’s winter coats that they can distribute during their normal duties to kids in need.

“I want to thank the dedicated men and women of our community police and fire departments and the teachers here for your dedicated service to make a difference for the future of our children,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.

“We are proud to sponsor this program with our firefighters and police and to be here today with our teachers for this event,” Supreme Knight Anderson said to the emergency personnel, teachers and staff, and students from kindergarten through eighth grade gathered at the event. “This initiative, and those like it, strengthens the links with those who need help. That’s what today is all about. That is what makes our community great. All of us up here remember a time when someone reached out to us, when someone shared with us.”

“Someday, you will do the same,” he added to the children.

Principal Myrna Montalvo greeted the attendees by thanking them. “We want to thank our friends here today, who did all this fantastic work to give you [the students] this gift, the gift of sharing.”

Police Lt. Sam Brown, who was responsible for starting the program one year ago with the police department with the help of Connecticut Knights of Columbus State Deputy Thomas Vita, said that he was happy that the New Haven Police, and now the New Haven Firefighters, were involved in this initiative with the Knights of Columbus. He added that in their daily duties, police and firefighters see first-hand the conditions that many children live under, some who are even without an appropriate winter coat. Through this program and the generosity of the Knights of Columbus, he said, they are now able to help meet those needs when they are out in public.

“We’re here today expanding the program we began a year ago. It’s been a great success so far, and we look forward to helping even more children,” said State Deputy Vita.

“We see the needs out there, and we’re lucky to be able to help meet those needs,” said Fire Chief Ralph Black. Police Chief Dean Esserman echoed his words. “Police and firefighters have big hearts and compassion, and that’s what makes them great police and firefighters. This is a remarkable program by the Knights of Columbus, and it shows that they care deeply about the community,” Esserman said.

This winter, the Knights of Columbus distributed 78,576 coats in 1,600 communities throughout the U.S. and Canada, including events at military bases, in Native American communities, at inner-city neighborhoods and through partnerships with local police departments. Since the start of the program in 2009 more than 310,000 coats have been distributed in 49 states and all 10 Canadian provinces

In Connecticut 4,680 coats were distributed this year in 35 communities, including distributions on Black Friday in New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Hartford, Waterbury and Groton/New London.