The Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, announced April 7 it is launching a multimillion-dollar food drive and delivery operation to support the nation's food banks, which are reporting unprecedented numbers of people in need of food as the coronavirus pandemic has forced people out of work now for weeks.
The fraternal organization said it plans to mobilize its 1.25 million members in the U.S. to help in over 20 cities in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
"In addition to confronting the threat of the COVID illness itself, we are facing a pandemic situation in which hunger is a growing concern for an increasing number of unemployed individuals and their families," Carl Anderson, the fraternal order's Supreme Knight and CEO, said in a statement.
The Knights will provide funding of $100,000 each to food banks in New York, Connecticut and Los Angeles, with additional $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.
"The organization is also asking its vast membership to further increase partnership with food banks by volunteering at food banks and helping deliver food to those in need as needed," said a news release announcing the initiative.
This $1 million commitment is part of the first phase of the Knights' efforts. Additional support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is planned and the Knights are asking their members and the public to support their efforts by donating at www.kofc.org.
The support for food banks is part of the organization's "Leave No Neighbor Behind" initiative in which Knights are encouraged to assist their neighbors, including those in the community and parish, their fellow Knights of Columbus and others.
"As an organization, we have provided vital support at key moments including during the 1918 flu pandemic, during two world wars and after natural disasters. Our 'Leave No Neighbor Behind' initiative continues that tradition, and we will work directly with food banks to help ensure that food reaches those most in need in communities from coast to coast."
Knights also are being encouraged to donate blood, especially in response to current shortages amid the pandemic.
In addition, the Knights of Columbus is also providing spiritual resources to its members and has established a program to equip dioceses with short-term financing to assist with the continuation of spiritual and charitable ministries and employment of staff, among other things, as many dioceses and their parishes have suffered from the economic effects of the pandemic.