GREAT FALLS — For nearly ten years, the Knights of Columbus councils in Great Falls have been helping kids stay warm during the winter with their “Coats for Kids Drive.” On Black Friday and the following week, they're continuing that tradition with a distribution.
Since launching the “Coats for Kids” campaign in 2009, nationwide, the Knights of Columbus have distributed one million coats. And for nine years, the two councils in Great Falls have been adding to that total.
“We recognize a need in the community and we like to say where there's a need, there's a Knight,” said Royce Shipley, a member of the Knights of Columbus 9395 Council.
For the past three years, Council 1493and Council 9395 have been working together in a central location on the project.
” The first principle of our order is charity and this is one of our missions of charity,” said George Kupka, a member of the Knights of Columbus 1493 Council. “We do a lot of missions of charity. We go to support Special Olympics, Easter Seals and Eagle Mount and few others.”
The drive also collects hats and gloves for children in needs. Some of the coats are donated, but the vast majority are brand new, purchased through money raised through council fundraisers such as fish fry dinners and specials breakfasts. The coats never go to waste.
“Last year we had a lot left over and we took those extra coats from 1493 out to the schools for students to get coats that were needed,” said Kupka.
The first distribution will be on Friday, November 24th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 906 Central Avenue West.
“We trust that there are needy people and that they need the coats and we don't ask any questions and we don't require any form,” said Kupka.
Just over a week later, the Knights will be giving out more coats.
“We're going we're going to do a second distribution on the 2nd of December at Saint Vincent de Paul facility on Central Avenue West,” said Shipley.
To help offset the cost of the coats, Council 9395 will host a burrito and cinnamon roll breakfast on Sunday, November 19 after the 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.. masses at Holy Spirit Catholic Parish. The council is asking for a free will offering.
Council 1493 will host a free will offering breakfast the following Sunday, December 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the council hall on Central Avenue West.