FRESH MEADOWS — Since May, the Knights of Columbus Holy Family/Bishop Ignatius Catanello Council #14520 has collected and distributed more than 4,000 pounds of food to at least 6,000 families.
Their most recent food drive, held on August 16, collected approximately 500 pounds of food that was donated to St. Michael’s Church Pantry in Flushing. The council had help from members of the Scouts BSA Female Troop 253 from Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann Parish in Flushing, Scouts BSA Troop 55 from Holy Family Parish, and cadets from the Civil Air Patrol’s New York City Group.
“The community needs people to step up and help out. At the Knights of Columbus, that’s what we do,” said the council’s Grand Knight Joe Mora, who oversees more than 100 members. “It doesn’t matter who it is. If our parishes or our community need us, we answer the call.”
Msgr. John E. Vesey, pastor of St. Michael’s, emphasized the importance of the generosity and kindness exemplified by the council and local residents. The church’s food pantry served 1,000 families and 2,700 families in June and July respectively.
“It’s overwhelming with the amount of people who come and are in need. It’s a constant need that just seems to be growing,” Father Vesey said. “We were taken aback when the Grand Knight called us yesterday at 1:30 p.m. and then, by 3 o’clock, they were here with the food. It was just wonderful and we’re really blessed.”
Throughout this pandemic, the council has also distributed food to other pantries in need, including those at St. Mary Star of the Sea and St. Gertrude in Far Rockaway and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica.
“Usually we hold food drives in November [for Thanksgiving] and during Lent, but we decided to hold food drives during the pandemic because the need’s been so great. At one point we were having food drives every two weeks,” Mora said. “Even though we’re a Queens council, it’s for any pantry. We’re just trying to be active in the community and we want everyone to know that we’re trying to do our part.”
Mora said the council decided to hold another food drive in August because many locals are still unemployed.
“Many people have gone back to work, but a lot still haven’t and those are the people that need the help,” he explained. “They’re the ones who are still waiting to go back because their businesses and sectors haven’t opened up yet.”
“Also, a lot of the restaurants are open but the capacity is very limited with their full staff not being able to work,” Mora added. “These people have to feed their families, so if there’s anything that we can do to help, we’re here.”