Sunday, December 15, 2013
The Knights of Columbus Arizona State Council donated 96 winter coats to children attending the Diocese of Phoenix, St. Peter Indian Mission School, of the Gila River Indian Community, in Bapchule, Arizona. On Sunday December 15 2013, State Secretary Larry Becker and his wife Teresa delivered the coats to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity at the mission school. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have been teaching at St. Peter Mission since December 27, 1935. The school’s enrollment typically ranges between 170-190 students. They currently have about 175 students. The school charges each family $300 per year for tuition. Because most of these families are living at below poverty level, they rarely are able to collect the tuition from the families. Therefore, they rely on Catholic Education scholarships and many other donors to keep the school alive. The Sisters were thrilled to have received such a warm gift for Christmas. They said that many of the children do not have coats and this will truly brighten their Christmas. The Sisters also boasted that the Knights of Columbus members in the Fr. John Arens Council 9678 of St. Steven’s Catholic Church in Sun Lakes Arizona also provide lots of help and support to the mission school.
State Deputy Bryant Sayers of the Knights of Columbus Arizona State Council has also arranged to deliver about 100 coats to children in an Indian mission school in the Diocese of Tucson. Also along with the State Deputy of New Mexico, State Deputy Sayers will be donating about 200 coats to the Diocese of Gallup St. Michael’s Indian School on the Navajo Reservation. State Deputy Sayers hopes to have all the coats delivered to the schools before Christmas Day so the children can enjoy the gift of warmth.
In 2009, the Knights of Columbus launched a new initiative designed to keep children warm in harsh winter climates. With many families with young children struggling in tough economic times, there was a clear need to provide warm winter coats to children in their communities. And so, the Knights of Columbus “Coats for Kids” program was born. Since 2009, the Knights of Columbus “Coats for Kids” program has given away more than 150,000 coats to children. Last year, nearly 1000 local Knights of Columbus councils participated locally in the program in the United State and Canada.