COATS

“Coats for Kids” were dropped off by members of the local Knights of Columbus, to be distributed to Koochiching County kids by staff with the Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services. From the left are Knights of Columbus trustee Rick Debenedet; family director Jed Becker, community director Timm Ringhofer, Health and Humans Services Director Kathy LaFrance; Knights’ financial secretary Tom Mayer; Knights’ Gary Loop; and grand knight John Watkinson.

As local folks have for years celebrated the Lenten season with the annual Knights of Columbus Council 1540 Lenten fish fries, they continue to help keep warm boys and girls across Koochiching County.

The Knights of Columbus Council 1540 is in its seventh year to team with and Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services to bring new coats to children who need them, with the proceeds from the previous year’s fish fries.

Each year the number of coats and the need for them has grown. The local project began in 2014 with a contribution of 12 coats; this year, 72 coats will be distributed to children who can use them, who have been identified by Koochiching County Community Services staff. The identity of the children who receive the coats is kept confidential. In total over the seven years, 324 local kids got new coats, thanks for the effort by the Knights of Columbus.

Kathy LaFrance, Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services director, accepted the coats from a group of members, and thanked them for their commitment to assisting local children.

On Thursday, the boxes of girls and boys colorful coats were brought to the office, and LaFrance said staff who work with families were hoping new coats for kids who need them would again be available.

“They are here in the nick of time,” Gary Loop, Knights of Columbus, said as forecasts called for the first measurable snow of the season in the coming days. “And there’s nothing like having a new winter coat.”

Loop noted that the group appreciates the continued community support of the Lenten fish fries, which make the donations of the coats possible each year.

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