Knights of Columbus Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign outfits more than 1,450 children |

Knights of Columbus Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign outfits more than 1,450 children

Knight of Columbus member Barry Vande Zande comes out of Walmart in 2018 with boxes of outerwear for the group’s annual Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign. In 2019, the group raised more than $35,000 for the campaign.
Summit Daily file

FRISCO — More than 1,450 children are a little bit warmer this winter thanks to the 8th annual Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign organized by the local Knights of Columbus council.

Late last year, the group began fundraising for the campaign, collecting donations to purchase coats and other essential winter clothing for children in need around the state. According to organizers with Knights of Columbus — an international Catholic men’s charity organization — the program continues to grow in scope each year along with the impact it has on local communities.

“It really just brings home the true meaning of love and respect for your neighbor,” program coordinator Mike Kramer said about the success of this season’s campaign. “That’s really what we’re taught through our faith.”

During the 2019 campaign, the Knights of Columbus purchased 2,300 new winter clothing items — everything from jackets, snow bibs, hats, boots and gloves — for more than 1,450 children. The campaign was able to reach kids in six Summit County elementary and preschools along with schools in Grand, Rio Grande, Lake, Jackson and Gilpin counties.

In addition to schools, the campaign also offered assistance to children through other local organizations such as the Summit Community Care Clinic, SOS Outreach and the Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s Adopt an Angel program. The group also provided limited financial support for clothing emergencies to the Gabriel House, Summit County Early Childhood Options and the Mountain Family Center.

While the Knights of Columbus did get some larger-scale donations for the campaign from local businesses and nonprofits, including the Frisco Walmart and The Summit Foundation, individual donors helped to raise a substantial portion of the funds. The group raised more than $35,000 in donations last year from about 110 individual donors across 10 states and areas in Canada accounting for a 17% increase in funds from the 2018 campaign.

Kramer said he ascribes the bump in this season’s numbers to growing awareness throughout the county, particularly in faith-based groups.

“We’re seeing growth each year,” Kramer said. “There were new influxes of children coming up. But what was great is we had donations from across the country, which was very significant. … I attribute that, in speaking with some of my friends, to the churches really supporting this humanitarian relief program and helping to extend that information to our visitors.”

With another fruitful campaign behind them, the group is looking forward to trying to top it this year. Individuals interested in donating to the 2020 campaign can send their tax-deductible donations to Knights of Columbus, P.O. Box 3673, Dillon, CO 80435.

“It just encourages us and gets us excited to move forward into the ninth year of this program,” Kramer said. “We’re already starting on a campaign to hopefully make this year as successful, and maybe even more so, than in years past.”

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