Many of the activities of the Knights of Columbus sound demanding, and certainly many are, but that does not mean that others can’t be just for fun. Members of your council are your neighbors, friends, and acquaintances who are just as interested in athletic, cultural, and social activities as you are. Programs and activities for councils are unlimited. Sports, cultural and social activities for the council members and their families have one thing in common, fraternalism. It is a feeling that creates enthusiasm and builds pride in membership.
Public relations are one of the most important tools that can be used within the council. If the members don’t know what is going on, how can you expect to get a good turnout for an activity? There are many ways to inform the membership of upcoming activities. If your council does not have a monthly newsletter, start one. A bulletin board should be put some place where it is easy for the members to see a calendar of upcoming activities. Establish a home page on the internet.
Establish a “Knight of the Month” and a “Knight of the Year” within the council. Recognize a member for exemplary service to the council in any of our service areas. It is always nice to get a “pat on the back” for a job well done.
Celebrate special days of the Knights of Columbus. Have a Founders Day celebration, a Columbus Day celebration. Have a celebration on the date that your council was chartered, especially the significant years such as 5, 10, etc.
Utilize the Council Lecturer to present programs to the members during a council meeting. It can be of an educational or entertaining nature. It is an excellent way to inform and educate members about issues of the day, something about the community where you live or just something entertaining.
Have a dance or other social activity for various activities that are in the “Surge with Service Booklet”. Take the time to read it; you may discover some ideas that can be used in your council.
Fraternity is one of the founding principles of our Order. We do many things for others in many different service areas. It is because of fraternity that many of these activities are accomplished because we do these activities together as brother Knights, not as individuals. However, there is nothing wrong with doing something for ourselves once in a while. When we do have an activity for ourselves, our bond of fraternity is strengthened.
Coats for Kids
Distributing coats to needy children not only fills a vital need in the community, it is also an excellent way to build camaraderie among member and prospects. Seeing the joy that getting a new winter coat brings to a child will help prospects to see the Knights of Columbus as an organization they want to be a part of. In the last four years, Knights of Columbus councils have distributed more than 72,000 winter coats to needy children.
- Make Coats for Kids a project for the entire parish community
- Assess the need in the community. Pastors and Catholic school principals can be excellent resources in identifying children who would benefit from this program.
- Determine how much of the need the council can meet. For the 2014-2015 Winter, coats purchased from the Supreme Council will cost $16.25 plus shipping.
- Use council funds or conduct targeted fund raisers to purchase needed coats. Coat dries in the council or parish are great ways to supplement the coats purchased.
- Purchase the coats using the form on www.kofc.org/coats
- Schedule a distribution date, time, and location. Parish halls, Catholic school gyms, or council homes all make good distribution sites.
- Secure manpower. Invite the entire parish community to participate.
- Publicize the distribution among the recipients. Also, advise the media.
Any council that conducts a Coats for Kids program, and meets the minimum requirements, will receive full credit for all Columbian Award (SP-7) requirements in the Youth Activities category.
Food for Families
In these difficult economic times even something as basic as putting food on a table is difficult for some families. The difference between having a nutritious meal and going to bed hungry can be a thin line. You and your brother Knights and families can be that difference and help set the table for people in need by conducting Food for Families programs.
- Contact a local food pantry or soup kitchen to ensure they will be able to receive the food and ask what their needs are. Also, determine if there are specific items that they need.
- Obtain permission to set up the food drive at your parish or local store.
- Display posters around your parish, community, stores. These posters should include the date, time, and location of the drive.
- If you are conducting the event at your parish, hand out flyers to the parishioners as they enter the church and ask your pastor to make an announcement about the initiative, or get permission to have a council officer make an announcement before or after Mass.
- Request that a written announcement be included in the parish bulletin. In the announcement ask parishioners to donate nonperishable food items. These items should be brought to Mass the following weekend (you will need to run the informational part of the event on the first weekend and collect the items on the second weekend).
- Another option that can effectively involve all parishioners is a “40 Cans for Lent” program, where every parishioner contributes one can of food for each day of the Lenten season.
- Pass out flyers to shoppers as they enter the store asking them to purchase extra food and to place it in the collection boxes on their way out of the store.
- When collecting monetary donations, make sure to have a secure receptacle in your collection area for cash or checks.
- Place some items in the collection boxes after setting them up so people can see what types of items are needed. Put a sign on the collection receptacle so people who miss the announcement will know what it is for.
Any council that conducts a Food for Families program, and meets the minimum requirements, will receive full credit for all Columbian Award (SP-7) requirements in the Family Activities category.