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‘What is the Secret Sauce?’

11/13/2018

By Andrew Fowler
Serving 3,500 meals in one day

Imagine serving 3,500 meals in one day and then doing that every day for several weeks.

That’s exactly what Knights of St. Sylvester’s Council 13277 in Navarre, Fla., did in the aftermath Hurricane Michael, which hit on Oct. 10 as one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall in the United States.

The impact of the storm is still visible at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Panama City. Soon after the hurricane passed, the church turned into a major distribution center, handing out supplies to between 2,000 to 4,000 people daily. Almost a month later, it still maintains that level of service, and has become a hub for volunteers from all areas.

All those victims of the hurricane, along with the volunteers, need to eat. That is where the Knights from St. Sylvester Council step in.

“It’s just a matter of who we are and how we’re wired,” said Ivan Delabruere, a Knights field agent. “We’ve had Knights from all over the country here. It’s just not the panhandle. You’ll hear some different accents with Knights’ shirts on. A Little Cajun, a little northwest.”

Members like Grand Knight Jim Brown, Faithful Captain Neal Carter and Frank Suarez have joined Delabruere, traveling over 80 miles to Panama City to serve meals since the beginning of relief efforts. Distributing an average of 3,500 meals per day, cooked with a smoker and grill, they serve pulled pork, hamburgers, ribs and hot dogs with a secret blend of sauces to volunteers and victims.

“We had a couple come in the other day, they got three kids at home and they hadn’t eaten anything,” said Carter. “They hadn’t had a hot meal in weeks, and they came through and we gave them more than enough food for a couple of days. Just to see their overwhelming joy and gratitude for what we're doing for them. That's all we need for thanks. And encouraging other people to join the Knights to help do this.”

Knights from across Florida — from Navarre to Homestead — as well as Alabama, Louisiana and Indiana continue to assist in relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael, whether that is in the form of serving meals, delivering supplies or removing debris. As a whole, the Knights have raised and contributed more than $526,000 to victims throughout the state of Florida.

And the secret sauce for their cooking? Delabruere responded, “The secret sauce is charity.”

To help Knights improve the communities affected by Hurricane Michael, you can donate to the Knights of Columbus Disaster Relief Fund: kofc.org/disaster

Join the largest fraternal, Catholic order today and help these communities. To learn more, click here: kofc.org/join

Andrew Fowler, Andy.Fowler@kofc.org