ELKHART — The Knights of Columbus Council 1043 is once again collecting food for their annual drive to help families in need over the holidays.
For the 26th consecutive year, the Knights will be preparing food baskets to distribute to families throughout Elkhart County, and are hoping to expand their reach once again.
After feeding 600 families in 2011, the Knights are hoping to gather enough supplies to reach 650 families this year. All this after former Grand Knight Benny Wiercioch began the tradition by feeding two neighbors a quarter of a century ago.
“The Knights have been and still are active in our churches and throughout our communities,” said Grand Knight Phil Kile in a release from the organization.
Dick Scheve, who has been involved with the program for 10 years and is in his first year as chairman, said the Knights wanted to increase the number because there is still a significant need in Elkhart County, according to the release.
Baskets will include a five-pound ham, fresh fruit, bread, tortillas and two boxes of a variety of nonperishable food. The basket should be enough to feed a family for two to three days, according to the release.
The Knights are still looking for more community involvement with the program. Donations of cash and food can be dropped off at several locations. The Knights hall at 112 West Lexington Ave. is accepting donations from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
Several area businesses are also collecting donations, including St. Thomas and St. Vincent’s churches; Credit Union Centers at both 3702 South Main Street, Elkhart and 911 Lincolnway North, Osceola; Brentwood at Elkhart, 3600 East Bristol Street; and Woodforest National Bank, 30830 Old U.S. 20, Osceola.
Drs. Joe Cochran and Brian King, 29547 Mishawaka Road, Elkhart, are also offering discounts to patients who bring in food for the program.
Once all the food has been collected, a team of volunteers will sort and prepare the baskets on Dec. 14 at a warehouse at Northland Center, off C.R. 6 East in Elkhart.
The next day, Knights members will travel throughout the county and distribute the baskets of food.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help pack the baskets can call the Knights hall at 293-0341. Arrangements to pick up large donations can also be made by calling that number.