BELMONT — During the COVID-19 pandemic this summer, the Knights of Columbus in the Lakes Region responded to the needs of their communities with “Leave No Neighbor Behind,” a nationwide service program to assist people during the crisis.

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson challenged his fellow Knights to take the opportunity to “deepen our commitment to the very principles which define us: charity, unity and fraternity.” 

The program identifies five areas of service activities, while following social distancing and health guidelines, including assisting local food banks and scheduling blood donations.

“Even before this shutdown of our society, Knights have always been active in our parishes and our communities,” said Leonard Campbell, Grand Knight of Council 10943 at St. Joseph Parish.

“The program was created to keep us Knights active and involved in our parishes and communities, and also to help our Brother Knights. We have a lot of elderly Knights who shouldn’t go out right now. We should all look out for each other, do what can we do. That’s what we’ve done since the Knights of Columbus was founded,” he said.

“When this crisis is over, we will continue to do all of these things, because the need will continue. This situation brings to the forefront that we need to keep in touch with the members of our community,” Campbell continued 

Recent activities include a blood drive, and a spring food drive at Tilton Market Basket. Manager Joe Whalen suggested putting signs around the store to highlight the needs of the food pantry in Belmont, and the community responded. “Patrons were delighted to see the recommendations,” said Frank Ruffing, drive organizer and 22-year member of the Belmont Council "We've been doing this drive twice a year, and this time the Council had half again as many baskets of food and personal care items as usual.” Don Roberts, financial secretary, noted that the total value of gift cards donated was about 10 times any previous drive.

Catholic men interested in becoming part of community activities like this can visit kofc.org/join.

“With Christ’s help,” said Campbell, “we can get through this pandemic. We’re here for the long haul. We’re in it to win it. I’m proud of the Knights and humbled to be one of them.”

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