The Knights of Columbus, a global Catholic fraternal service organization, has an active presence in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. One of its chapters, the Father Ragan Council 3269 from Avon/Avon Lake, has been busy this year throughout the coronavirus pandemic providing assistance for those most in need.
Through its Lend a Hand program, council members provided food and milk to charitable organizations. They also hosted blood drives and continue to help children with special needs through the Knights’ Measure-Up campaign.
The council accepts food and cash donation on the first Saturday of the month. The drives started in April and will continue through the end of the year. So far, 11 tons of non-perishable food and its cash equivalent have been collected.
Non-perishable food and cash will be collected 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 7 and Dec 5 at two locations: Ragan Hall, 1783 Moore Road, Avon and St. Joseph Church, 32929 Lake Road, Avon Lake, in the gathering area. Make checks payable to Father Ragan Council 3269. Checks also can be mailed to the Ragan hall, 1783 Moore Road, Box 224, Avon, Ohio 44011.
In May, the Father Ragan Council grand knight saw an opportunity to provide milk to those in need after some local food banks were shut down due to the pandemic. Milk was obtained from Borden’s Dairy. Borden’s was awarded a USDA grant until the end of August to provide milk to nonprofit 501c (3) organizations. The Father Ragan Council -- through its Ragan Foundation -- qualified as a charitable organization.
Through Colleen McHenry, who was a key person for this program, arrangements were made with Borden’s to deliver milk for distribution by the Knights. More than 12 tons of milk were allotted for delivery. Father Ron Wearsch, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Avon Lake, played a key part by providing a meeting place, space in the parish cooler to store the donated milk and logistical support to facilitate the milk delivery.
The milk and food deliveries were made to charitable organizations in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties, including Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland’s St. Elizabeth Shelter in Lorain; We Care We Share Ministries of Lorain, which serves several hundred meals per day; the Community Resource Center; the Sobering Center; Valor House,; Blessing House; Sacred Heart Chapel; St. Peter Church in Lorain; Our Lady of Mount Carmel; the Bishop William Cosgrove Center; and Lake View Plaza – Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority.
The council also hosted a blood drive on Sept. 16 in conjunction with the Lt. McManus Assembly 811. With assistance from Vitalant, more than 84 pints of blood were donated at Ragan Hall. Each donor received a small American flag compliments of Avon VFW 7035. Another blood drive is scheduled for Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, call 440-934-4253. COVID antibody testing for donors will be available. The first 30 donors will receive a small American flag.
The Father Ragan Council also collected nearly $3,500 through its Measure-Up campaign. Knights volunteered to collect donations after Masses from four of the parishes the council serves in Avon, Avon Lake, and Sheffield Village.
In addition to their charitable works, the Knights are celebrating the upcoming beatification of Father Michael McGivney, who founded the organization in 1882. His beatification will take place on Oct. 31 in Hartford, Connecticut.