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    KNIGHTS HELP SCHOOLS ACROSS U.S. DURING COVID-19

    As schools face the impact of the coronavirus, here’s how Knights are leaving no student behind

    By Andrew Fowler 8/20/2020
    Image courtesy St. Mary Magdalen Council 16223 in Kentwood, Mich.

    Knights of Columbus councils across the country are helping schools get ready for class, from completing construction projects to equipping schools with much-needed supplies and funding.

    This is the latest chapter in the Order’s storied history of supporting schools and providing educational opportunities for students in need. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Knights provided financial support to Catholic schools on Native American reservations, provided education and employment services for veterans who fought in World War I, and established a $1 million educational fund to provide scholarships for sons and daughters of Knights killed or disabled in war.

    Throughout the rest of the 20th century and into the new millennium, Knights have continued to support schools and students through scholarship programs, and even personally laboring to build new Catholic schools — such as St. Anthony Catholic School in Madison, Miss. Knights continue their support now during COVID-19 as part of the Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative.

    Here are some examples of what Knights are doing today:

    The Niemeyer Insurance Agency, a Knights of Columbus insurance agency in Glen Carbon, Ill., made a $1,000 donation to the Father McGivney Catholic High School as part of the sponsorship program that the school runs each fall, according to the River Bender News. The donation will help give students, regardless of economic status, an opportunity to attend the school.

    Msgr. James Willet Council 7847 in Hopkinsville, Ky., donated $50,000 to Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church for the construction of a new maintenance facility at the parish’s parochial school. The parish community held a blessing and dedication to the new facility, which was dedicated to Rocky Spader, a Knight and member of the council who worked to get the building completed.

    Father Francis X. Pierz Council 15021 in Harbor Springs, Mich., presented $30,000 in scholarship funds to local Catholic schools. Grand Knight Andrew Martin told the News-Review, “There is no greater need, nor reward, than for us to invest in our future. …Our goal is to create life-changing opportunities for the young men and women receiving these scholarships, and, in turn, those around them.”

    More than 30 Knights from St. Matthew Council 14360 in Norwalk, Conn., painted the interior of Regina Pacis Academy, spanning two floors, eight classrooms and several hallways. It took nearly 600 hours to complete the job and saved the school $30,000, the amount otherwise required to hire a painting company.

    St. Mary Magdalen Council 16223 in Kentwood, Mich., asked local schools what supplies they needed for the upcoming year. With the help of the parish and community, the Knights collected over 1,800 school supplies. “Many people are out of work and struggling to support their family,” said David Eickholt, the council’s deputy grand knight. “School supplies are not high on the list compared to paying rent or buying food, so school supplies for the kids could suffer. We as a family-based organization cannot allow this to happen.”

    Ascension of Our Lord Council 9623 from La Place, La., provided new fire extinguishers, a fire system and updated phone lines for the Ascension of Our Lord Catholic School.

    Working with Catholic Charities Northern Colorado, Denver Council 539 collected backpacks filled with supplies for students who would likely have no other source of supplies for the upcoming school year.

    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 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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