Knights of Columbus to give Coats for Kids to CPS

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COLUMBIA – Three councils of the Knights of Columbus in the city will distribute about 150 coats to Columbia Public Schools Friday morning. 

Charles Schuster, deputy director for Knights of Columbus in Columbia, said this small, charitable act goes a long way for kids in the community.

“Knights of Columbus realizes that some the people live in rural poverty with very little money and they use it towards resources for essential foods, and therefore not always have any money for coats,” he said.

In the last year, Schuster said 1600 local councils in the United States and Canada participated in the “Coats for Kids” program and distributed over 79,000 coats.

“Since the program started in 2009, the program has distributed more than 306,000 coats in the U.S. and Canada,” he said.

As a director, Schuster oversees all three Knights of Columbus councils in the city: Council 1529 on Stadium Boulevard, Council 14414 at Sacred Heart and the Newman Council 7931 on the MU campus.

“Council 1529 ordered eight cases, 12 coats to a case,” he said. “Council 14414 at Sacred Heart ordered two cases and the Newman Council 7231 ordered two cases, so that’s 12 total cases.”

Schuster added the charitable efforts all started as part of community outreach for kids in the U.S. and Canada.

He said giving the coats to Columbia Public Schools to distribute to kids is the best course of action because they know would benefit most.

President of the Board of Education for CPS Jim Whitt said the board certainly appreciates the contributions the Knights of Columbus are doing for the CPS family.

Michelle Baumstark, community relations director for CPS, reaffirmed the positive assistance they receive from the Knights of Columbus.

“We’re very fortunate to have a community partner like the Knights of Columbus to help fill some of the basic needs our students may have,” she said. “It’s hard to come to school ready to learn if you don’t have the clothing you need.

Baumstark said school counselors and home-school communicators identify students in need who would benefit most from the donations.

Schuster said working to help people, especially children, is most important.

“No, we probably don’t see them at the bus stops with them,” he said. “But it’s a good feeling knowing that children in need will have warm coats to wear to school.”