Knights of Columbus councils everywhere provide generous assistance to the poor and vulnerable, usually those close to home but sometimes in foreign lands. Sometimes, too, councils help fund the charitable initiatives established by one of their own brother Knights.
In a suburb just south of Minneapolis, Minn., Burnsville-Eagan Council 6374 for years has been supporting Risen Christ Missions, a ministry founded by council member Gerald Krosnowski to help the desperately impoverished of the Philippines and other countries.
“Each year in October, the Knights of Columbus volunteer to help Gerald with his RSM Gala event,” said Joe Eymann, a member of the council that serves Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in Burnsville. “Several Knights from the council help with the project throughout the year selling raffle tickets for the RSM Gala, and we also help as a council at the event as well.”
The fundraiser is, as the name implies, a real gala. The 2019 edition, with the theme “Feed the Dream,” was held at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington, and the $50 tickets gained patrons admission to a social hour, silent auction, dinner, raffle, and a program of musical entertainment.
Krosnowski and his wife, Barbara, started their lay missionary work in 1968 serving the homeless population of Detroit and seeking long-term solutions. They continued their charitable work after moving to Minnesota, partnering with various domestic and foreign mission organizations. In 2000, they created the Sonshine Foundation to help fund these efforts.
In 2006, Gerald Krosnowski made a mission trip of his own to the Philippines and witnessed the extreme poverty suffered by many orphans and families who were receiving little or no outside relief. That’s when he and Barbara founded Risen Savior Missions.
“Risen Savior Missions takes a holistic approach towards the problems of poverty,” said Krosnowski. The initiative not only provides food for the needy, but it partners with others to teach the poor about hygiene, sanitation, farming, nutrition, manufacturing, and microfinance, he explained. It also provides health care services and faith formation.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, RSM has now fed more than a million starving children at thousands of feeding sites since 2006. “This was accomplished by the grace of God, our fantastic volunteers and partners, and the amazing people, donors, and organizations who support Risen Savior Missions,” Krosnowski said.
His daughter, Pat Germ, has been involved from the beginning, and her husband, Joe, and their three children have participated as well. Germ marvels at how far RSM has come since the early days — with the invaluable assistance of Council 6374.
“It started with sending some meals in cardboard boxes to the Philippines to help the poor starving children,” she recalled. “[Soon] we hope to send our one-hundred millionth meal, all by the grace of God! The Knights of Columbus at Mary, Mother of the Church have been a Godsend in achieving this goal.”
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