Knights of Columbus Contribute to a Warm and Bright Holiday


December 15, 2021

David Grierson and several other members of the Great Falls Council of the Knights of Columbus arrived at St. Gabriel's Church last Friday with their delivery for families in need.

The local Knights of Columbus organization, in collaboration with the Great Falls Council and several local businesses, are making the holiday season warmer and brighter for many Hi-Line families with their food and coat donations. On Friday, December 10, David Grierson's white Toyota Tundra and cargo trailer arrived at St. Gabriel's Church in Chinook with 2400 pounds of food and several boxes of coats. A local distribution is planned for Saturday, December 18.

"This is our second shipment to the area and one of our final distributions of over 2000 coats in Montana," reported Billy Ross, State Coordinator for the Knights of Columbus (K of C) and their Coats for Kids program.

Ross revealed that this delivery contains 108 extreme weather coats from Waterfront's Outdoor Collection. "This is a joint effort between the two Councils in Great Falls: #1493 and #9395, and the local Council."

Joining Knights Grierson and Ross were Sylvester (Sly) Barros-who is District Deputy for the Lewistown, Fort Benton, and Great Falls area-and Frank LaTray, who serves as District Deputy for the Knights on the Hi-Line. Another community member, Roxanne Brewer was on hand to help receive and organize the delivery.

LaTray and his fellow Knights, along with other volunteers, have been distributing food and coats in acts of charity. The St. Gabriel's Council of the K of C also donated two boxes of coats to the fire victims at Denton.

About these gestures, LaTray stated: "Charity is at the heart of our work and our Catholic faith. It takes a lot of help, and we're grateful for those who give their time."

LaTray went on to explain that the coats are classified for cold weather and are all "brand new, not second-hand." Several businesses and individuals made donations to provide this winter essential. They include Jamieson Motors, Dustin and Vicki Hofeldt, Michael Inman and Inman Insurance, Crystal Stepper and State Farm Insurance, Mark and Betty Billmayer, Rad's Deli and Pizza Shop, Shores Floral, and First Bank of Montana. LaTray wished to thank not only these local sponsors of the Coats for Kids program but also the Great Falls Council of the K of C.

According to LaTray, the goal of the Coats for Kids program is to ensure that no child in North America goes without a coat during the winter season. When families struggle to clothe their children with warm coats in the winter, K of C councils across the country help to meet this basic need. The coats come in mixed colors and sizes ranging from small to 3XL for adults and small to large for youth.

"It almost breaks the heart to see the gratitude from some of these kids when they receive a brand new coat that's all their own," LaTray said.

Bozeman's K of C Council recently told LaTray to expect sixteen additional boxes of coats in the coming days. "We've been busy. Just last week, I had a representative from Hays come in and agree to distribute the 95 coats we had requests for out there," LaTray reported. "If anyone else needs a coat, let us know; we'd like to help."

District Deputies for the Knights of Columbus, Frank LaTray and Sly Barros use a hand truck to off load the coats and food from the Great Falls Council for a distribution planned for December 18.

The Great Falls Council also sent 2400 pounds of food to the area for holiday distribution. The shipment includes canned goods, boxed meals, staples like peanut butter and sugar, and several sacks of potatoes. Individuals in need of food or coats are encouraged to visit the Catholic Church on Distribution Day, December 18, or to contact LaTray by calling 406-390-2872.

As the District Deputy for the K of C, LaTray oversees the work of Knights from Chester to Malta, who provide service and assist others in need. "Our commitment to charitable service is just one of the many ways that we live out our principles," LaTray stated.

Both LaTray and Barros agreed that their objective is to reach out and help in any way they can. "Charity is the name of the game," Barros said.

The Knights of Columbus were founded on the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Today, these principles serve as the foundation of the organization's core values.


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