Knights Open Distribution Center to Aid Oklahoma Tornado Victims
Oklahoma City, Okla. — As part of the ongoing effort to aid the victims of May’s devastating tornadoes in Moore and Shawnee, Knights in Oklahoma — together with the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Charities — have opened a new warehouse that will aid affected families.
The warehouse will administer St. Vincent de Paul’s “House in a Box” program, which will provide families with everything they need to furnish their homes, from mattresses and furniture to cooking utensils.
The Knights of Columbus has committed an initial $50,000 to cover 100% of the operating expenses of the warehouse, and Knights in Oklahoma have agreed to fully staff it for the duration of the program.
At the warehouse, Knights will unload deliveries of material and then prepare and load orders onto trucks for the affected families. It is estimated that as many as 1,000 Knights will volunteer at the warehouse over the course of the next several weeks.
St. Vincent de Paul Society is anticipating filling the needs of more than 200 families at the warehouse.
The warehouse was officially commissioned on July 20 with a grand opening ceremony led by Archbishop Paul Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. The archbishop was joined by a Fourth Degree honor guard and members of the Oklahoma State Council for the ribbon cutting.
The warehouse is the latest step in the Knights’ recovery efforts in Oklahoma. To date, the Knights of Columbus has disbursed more than $100,000 from its Knights of Columbus Charities Disaster Relief Fund to aid in the Oklahoma recovery efforts.
Immediately following the tornadoes, the Knights mobilized quickly, authorizing $20,000 in gift cards that were distributed to affected families. They also worked with parish staff at St. Andrew’s in Moore, Okla., to establish an operations center for volunteers that was active for two weeks. Additionally, working with Catholic Charities, the Knights opened a distribution center at All Saints Catholic School in Norman, Okla., to provide personal hygiene kits, nonperishable food, cleanup materials and tools to those in the storm’s wake. The center was in operation for nearly a month.
Also in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the Supreme Council authorized an initial donation of $10,000 and opened a donations hub where Knights and members of the general public could contribute to the efforts in Oklahoma. To date, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised.
This is not the first time that Knights have partnered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Knights in Texas joined forces with the group in the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, donating $70,000 to purchase mattresses for the “House in the Box” program in that community.
To donate to the fund and to the Knights of Columbus Charities Disaster Relief Fund, visit kofc.org/disaster.