Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly presents $50,000 and nearly 1,000 coats to Denver Catholic schools in honor of Coats for Kids milestone
By Cecilia Engbert
The Knights of Columbus celebrated the donation of 1 million coats through the Order’s Coats for Kids program by giving nearly 1,000 new coats to Catholic school students in Denver in early November.
Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly helped distribute some of the coats at Annunciation Catholic School in North Denver on Nov. 6 and afterward presented a special commemorative coat to Lexi Cordova, a first-grade student there. He was joined by leaders from the Colorado State Council and local council members, as well as Ty Blach, a Major League Baseball pitcher and Knight of Columbus.
“The Coats for Kids program has become synonymous with the Knights of Columbus mission of charity, as first established by our Founder, Blessed Michael McGivney, more than 140 years ago,” said Supreme Knight Kelly. “The generosity of our donors and the work of our local councils to distribute 1 million coats to underprivileged children is proof that where there’s a need, there’s a Knight.”
St. James Catholic School, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Academy, St. Therese Catholic Classical School and Guardian Angels Catholic School, all in the Denver area, received coats as well. The supreme knight also presented each of the five Catholic schools with a donation of $10,000 in recognition of the historic milestone.
“It’s a milestone that we’re very proud of. I know it takes a lot of work and dedication from our generous donors and our brother Knights, who have really done so much to keep this program growing and make it such a success,” Supreme Knight Kelly said.
Since the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids program launched in 2009, councils have distributed coats in 49 U.S. states and all 10 Canadian provinces. About 1,500 councils across North America participate in Coats for Kids each year. In 2023, they are on pace to give away 200,000 coats.
“We have to take care of our kids,” Colorado State Deputy Dwayne “Butch” Enderle said. “We are a family organization … and with our first tenet being charity, this allows us to go out and put smiles on the parents’ faces and meet the kids’ needs.”
Many schools within the Archdiocese of Denver serve a high number of economically challenged families, said Carol Nesbitt, director of schools marketing and communications for the archdiocese.
“We are so incredibly grateful for this donation from the Knights,” she said. “We have many families living at the poverty line and for many of them, having a new coat is probably beyond their reach. Now we know that they’ll be out and about feeling warm because of the generous donation by the Knights.”
The supreme knight said the Order hopes to donate the next million coats by 2030, about half the time it took to reach the first million milestone.
“This program is a way to provide kids with a coat, but it’s also providing them with something greater,” he said after the distribution at Annunciation School. “A sense of solidarity and a sense that they’re not alone — that the Church comes together, the Knights come together, to help and to be with them.”
CECILIA ENGBERT is a content producer for the Knights of Columbus Communications Department.