A total of 500 students across the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board will be protected from the winter elements, thanks to a ‘Coats for Kids’ initiative run by the Knights of Columbus.
Coats for Kids evolved from a conversation in 2015 ago between Neil Bouvier, General Agent for the Knights of Columbus Insurance Program and Nat Gallo, a retired Catholic secondary school principal regarding a project that the councils could do together. Gallo, a former Supreme Director with the Knights of Columbus Supreme Board suggested Coats for Kids, a program initiated by the Supreme Board in 2009 to provide needy children with warm winter coats.
“This year’s need was unprecedented as families struggled with the hardships of living through a pandemic,” said Equal Opportunities Consultant John Madalena.
In total, 500 coats were delivered to 19 schools within the HWCDSB.
“The different councils from various parts of the city have worked hard to ensure that all the demands are met and orders will still arrive into January,” said Bouvier. “We realize that the need extends throughout the long winter months.”
Highlights of this year’s donation include higher quality material and a wider range of sizing, accommodating children’s 4 to 6x, youth and teen sizes.
“The high schools were thrilled that adult coats were large enough to fit students in grade 12,” said Madalena, noting that Cathedral High School’s Annex welcomed students on the first day the shipment arrived to select their coats.
Other schools, like St. Agnes Catholic Elementary School, included the coats as part of their Christmas gift packages sent home to families.
Principal Jim Mauro knows the impact that the pandemic has had on the St. Agnes community, recognizing that while a new coat is a special gift to the student, it is the act of giving that has the real impact.
“The Coats for Kids program is but one example of the tremendous Christian witness provided by the Knights of Columbus,” said Chairperson Patrick Daly. “The distribution of coats to young people and numerous other initiatives facilitated through the Knights of Columbus makes a significant difference in the lives of countless individuals in our community.”
The Coats for Kids program is not limited to the Hamilton region but extends throughout Ontario. This year, a total of 7,116 coats have been donated to various communities with a special emphasis on the remote Indigenous Communities in Norther Ontario.
For further information on the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids Program, please visit: https://ontariokofc.ca/programs/faith-in-a ...