Knights of Columbus kicks off 8th annual Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign
FRISCO — Winter is fast approaching, and before too long, residents in Summit County will be trading in their shorts and sandals for snow pants and boots.
For those who need a little extra help preparing before the weather turns cold, the Summit County Knights of Columbus group is ready to step in with a helping hand. The group is set to launch its eighth annual Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign, fundraising over the coming weeks to purchase winter clothing for children in need at 15 schools across Summit, Grand, Jackson, Lake and Gilpin counties.
“This program really affects not only the students but the parents and teachers, as well,” said Mike Kramer, a Knights of Columbus member and chairman of the campaign. “We get a lot of direct feedback in letters from the kids and parents. It’s just tremendous.”
The Knights of Columbus is an international Catholic men’s organization working on service and charity projects in communities around the globe. Kramer said the Summit County chapter was launched about 15 years ago, raising and distributing funds for various nonprofits, scholarships and causes in the community. But the group’s biggest yearly endeavor is the Coats and Clothing for Kids campaign, which also helps to support the local Gabriel House charity and the Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s Adopt an Angel program.
Last year, the group raised more than $30,000 for the campaign and donated almost 1,900 winter items to more than 1,400 children. Funds are raised in large part through individual donors — 80 of whom came together to donate more than $14,000 last year — along with substantial grants from local businesses and nonprofits like The Summit Foundation and Walmart in Frisco.
“It means a lot for us to be able to give back to the community,” said Sigrid Escalante, the Walmart store manager who handed Kramer an oversized check for $5,000 Friday morning. “I feel like you don’t ever see the impact of what Walmart does towards the community, so it’s great to be able to put ourselves out there and give back and help people in need. It’s great for us to be able to partner with Knights of Columbus and help with what they’re doing in the community, not just in Summit County but throughout the entire area.”
Knights of Columbus is hoping to repeat last year’s success and already has kicked off fundraising efforts and outreach to schools. Kramer said each school’s need is generally determined by the rate of students receiving free and reduced-cost lunches, and teachers are given order sheets at the beginning of each school year to help identify students who might be in need of new clothing for winter.
Teachers send their sheets back in mid-October, and the Knights of Columbus begins making purchases to distribute in November. Kramer said the group gets the majority of coats from the organization’s national chapter and uses money raised locally to purchase new gloves, hats, boots and other cold-weather staples through the partnership with Walmart.
“Every dollar goes toward the program, and not a penny goes toward anything else,” Kramer said. “It’s a community effort. And this program wouldn’t function without this community’s involvement and support.”
Make tax-deductible donations payable to: Knights of Columbus, P.O. Box 3673, Dillon, CO 80434.
Call Mike Kramer at 970-468-6566 for more information.
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