Extending charity, one ticket at a time

Knights of Clumbus charities raffle drum, Toronto, May 19, 2013

Charities raffle drum, Toronto, May 19, 2013

You may have seen us in shopping malls and other public locations, selling tickets for the Knights of Columbus charities raffle. You know the scene: one or two people at a table greeting you as you approach, offering a $2 ticket or 3 for $5, filling in your contact information, wishing you luck and thanking you for your purchase.

What you may not know is how much work goes into administering the raffle and how much good the proceeds accomplish. At the local level, our work begins in late October when the tickets arrive. From then until late April, we have crews of volunteers scheduled in 3-hour or 4-hour shifts, offering tickets to the public. Other volunteers account for the tickets and the money, reviewing each day’s sales and submitting the proceeds to our council’s financial secretary and treasurer. The final accounting is carried out in mid-May and the tickets are turned in at the Knights of Columbus annual convention the day before the draw takes place. This year, the draw was held on May 19; the list of winners is published on the Ontario Knights of Columbus website.

Member of the Knights of Columbus selling raffle tickets at a pancake breakfast

Ray, selling raffle tickets at a pancake breakfast

At the annual convention, representatives of some of the charities we sponsor speak to the delegates about the impact of our charitable giving. Margaret Wills of the Arthritis Society reported that with the money we provided last year, the Society launched a chronic pain management program for children; they also supplied children with ergonomically-designed backpacks filled with information and tools for those recently diagnosed with arthritis. Taylor Redmond, a young athlete from Guelph, spoke eloquently about what Special Olympics has meant to him. A competitor in basketball, track and swimming, Taylor believes he can do anything the rest of us can do but he knows that he needs help and patience. He thanked the Knights in Guelph for helping him along his entire athletic career. There weren’t many dry eyes in the room when he finished speaking.

Our volunteers are taking a break over the summer. We’ll be back in the fall, looking to raise much-needed money for charities that make a difference in our community. When you see one of us, drop by to say hello and, if you can, pick up a few tickets. Your smiles keeps the volunteers coming back and your dollars help in many ways across the province.

Mothers Day tribute from the Knights

This weekend, after all Masses, our Council distributed flowers to the mothers in the congregation. It’s a symbolic gesture that reminds Knights not only to honour the mothers among us but also that our order was created as a fraternal benefits organization charged with the care of our deceased members’ widows and children.

Knights distribute flowers for Mothers at Holy Cross Parish

Members of Holy Cross Council distribute flowers for mothers at the entrance to the church.

Spring cleaning the capital

Holy Cross Council took part in the semi-annual Cleaning the Capital campaign again this spring. Saturday, May 4, was a perfect day for the event: a clear sky, no wind, dry ground and temperatures in the high teens in the morning. Twenty-one Knights and family members picked up litter along the Airport Parkway between Walkley Road and Hunt Club Road. As usual, the spring cleanup was more demanding than the fall session; Canadians seem to throw out more litter during the winter.

Holy Cross Council team prepares to pick up litter along the Airport Parkway

Holy Cross Council team prepares to pick up litter along the Airport Parkway

Members of the team relax over coffee and donuts.

Members of the team relax over coffee and donuts.

Pancakes and ham, free for the taking

The knights at our council, 10617, hosted another in our series of pancake breakfasts this morning. Parishioners come down to the church hall after each morning Mass to enjoy pancakes, ham, coffee, tea and juice with their families and friends. They linger to catch up on the latest doings with their friends, and they visit with people they otherwise wouldn’t meet.

Behind the scenes, there’s a flurry of activity involving a team of about 20 Knights. The shopping gets done on Friday morning, tables are set up on Saturday, and the cooking, serving and clean-up all happen Sunday. The coffee is on by 7:00 a.m., the cooks start flipping pancakes by 8:00 and the first guests arrive by 8:45. It’s generally 2:00 p.m. before the last guests have left and the clean-up is complete.

Part of the team that hosted the pancake breakfast, April 21, 2013.

Part of the team that hosted the pancake breakfast, April 21, 2013.

Our breakfasts are fundraisers, with a twist. Instead of setting a price for the meal, we simply accept a free-will offering. People offer what they can and no one is turned away for lack of a donation. Each event is devoted to a particular cause. During this fraternal year, our causes have included purchasing wheelchairs, contributing to the education fund of a deceased member’s children, buying winter coats for a dozen needy children and supporting the education of seminarians.

Council hosts First Degree for six new members

Last evening, Holy Cross Council’s team presented a First Degree, during which six new members were accepted into the Knights of Columbus. I was struck by the variety of life experiences the new members have brought to their councils:

  • a young priest from Kuala Lumpur who is studying canon law at St Paul University
  • a retired grandfather of Hispanic origin
  • an employee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • a pediatrician who works at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
  • a military surgeon  who recently returned from two tours of duty in Afghanistan
  • a small business owner from Wendover

Everyone in the room identified, in their own way, with the words of the military surgeon: “I’ve seen the horrors of the battlefield and the good that people can do. I’m here to do all the good I can.” Amen to that.

Holy Cross Council, April and May 2013

Holy Cross Council has a series of activities scheduled over the next six weeks:

  • April 17, 7:30 p.m. – First Degree ceremony, church hall
  • April 21, after all Sunday Masses – pancake breakfast, church hall
  • April 27, 10:00 a.m. – Second Degree ceremony
  • May 4, 9:00 a.m. – Airport Parkway cleaning; meet in the church hall
  • May 6, 7:30 p.m. – executive meeting, church hall
  • May 12, after all Sunday Mass – distribute flowers for Mothers Day
  • May 15, 7:30 p.m. – general meeting, church hall
  • May 18-19 – state convention, Toronto