The Knights of Columbus announced this week that the organization will donate over $1 million to food pantries throughout the United States in an effort to feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Catholic fraternal group announced April 7 that it would provide funding of $100,000 each to food banks in New York, Connecticut, and Los Angeles, as well as $50,000 donations each to food banks in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Newark, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson noted that since the group’s founding in 1882, the Knights have provided support throughout, during the 1918 flu pandemic, during two world wars, and after natural disasters.
In addition to the food bank donations, the Knights plan to fund the satellite transmission of several global broadcasts from the Vatican for Holy Week, including Good Friday Stations of the Cross April 10 led by Pope Francis, as well as the pope’s Easter Sunday Mass and Urbi et Orbi blessing April 12.
“With so many in Italy and around the world currently homebound, our support of Vatican broadcasts will allow our Holy Father to join in prayer with Catholics from every corner of the globe during this critical time,” Anderson said April 8.
Anderson said the group will also be donating $100,000 to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome, in order to allow the hospital to convert its neonatology department into a high-intensity treatment room for infants and newborns with COVID-19 infections.
Though the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has affected older adults most significantly, infants also are vulnerable. The treatment center will feature ventilators and other specialized equipment.
The Knights have announced several grassroots initiatives to respond to the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has asked members to help provide food and other essentials to those in need. It has also urged members to take part in blood drives.
With public Masses suspended across the entire United States, many parishes are facing a cash flow shortfall due to a lack of in-person collections. Starting March 30, the Knights began offering a $1 million line of credit to Catholic dioceses to help dioceses and parishes suffering from the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization with nearly 2 million members in more than 15,000 local councils worldwide. Its members worked 76 million service hours in 2019 and helped donate more than $185 million in charitable causes.