By Mary Woodward
PEARL – Thursday, June 19, was “KC Night at the Ballpark” at Trustmark Park, home of the Mississippi Braves, a Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves. The annual event is sponsored by local Knights of Columbus Councils and helps promote the charitable acts of the organization. Bishop Joseph Kopacz threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches of the game. The pitch was a little outside, but did not bounce.
A Fourth Degree Honor Guard presented the nation’s colors for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. More than 125 local knights and friends participated in the event, which gave the broader community a look at the Catholic church and its organizations.
According to PRNewswire-USNewswire, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record for charitable donations and service hours in 2013 while helping in communities worldwide, including by responding to a number of large-scale humanitarian crises.
The Knights’ Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for the year ending Dec. 31, 2013, reports Knights donated record amounts of money and hours of volunteer service — more than $170 million and more than 70.5 million hours.
Contributions increased for the 14th consecutive year, growing by more than $2.3 million to $170,135,754.
“Charity has been at the heart of the Knights’ mission for the past 132 years,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Whether with funds or service, and whether quietly helping someone overcome a personal tragedy or assisting in the aftermath of a widely known humanitarian disaster, the outpouring of charity by our members produces meaningful results, especially by helping to bring peace of mind to those who find themselves in incredibly difficult situations.”
Following the late April tornado outbreak in Central and Northeast Mississippi, Knights of Columbus Councils swung into action, processing hundreds of volunteers, bringing in 1,100 pounds of donated food and water, and putting in more than 7,000 hours of volunteers service in Lee, Rankin and Warren counties.
The response to unexpected tragedies was accomplished while the Knights continued their strong support within their communities through initiatives like the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids and Food for Families, programs supporting those with intellectual disabilities, organizing blood drives, and providing funding and volunteer time to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and the American Wheelchair Mission.
Cumulative figures show that during the past decade the Knights of Columbus has donated nearly $1.5 billion to charity and 683 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.
The Knights of Columbus was founded by Venerable Father Michael McGivney, a New Haven parish priest, in 1882. The organization was formed to provide charitable outreach and care for the financial well being of Catholic families, focusing on the protection of widows and orphans, and on strengthening the faith of its members.