ELKHART — Setting a new record for themselves, the Knights of Columbus, Council 1043, delivered 650 baskets to families in need throughout Elkhart County Saturday morning during their annual holiday food drive.
This was their 26th year delivering food for the needy, said Fred Thomson, a member of the K of C. It was 26 years ago that Benny Wiercioch, back then president of the K of C, decided to give some food from his cupboard to two of his neighbors. The next year, he’d give to 10, with the number of people he helped growing exponentially each year. Eventually it became the food drive that takes place now.
“Last year, he passed away around the time of the food drive,” he said. “So we dedicated the one last year to him.”
Friday evening, more than 200 volunteers gathered at the Northland Center in Elkhart to pack food into boxes. On Saturday morning, close to 100 volunteers helped drive the boxes to addresses they were given by local social serving agencies.
The boxes of food that they are unable to give out are sent to local pantries.
To get all the food for the distribution, the organization holds several events asking for donations, including phone-a-thons. Local businesses also help raise money in advance.
“This event is not about us,” said Thomson, “It’s a community event, and each year we try to expand and add more people from the community.”
After providing years of service, K of C member Steve Revelli said the food drive has always been rewarding for him.
“It’s a real heart-warming event. It makes you appreciate all the little things,” he said. “It’s also very humbling.”
Thomson explained they had younger volunteers ride with adults to distribute the boxes so they could meet the families they were helping.
A young couple entered the warehouse Saturday morning as they finished their rounds, bringing with them a couple boxes they were not able to deliver because they couldn’t find anyone home.
“For them it’s their first year here,” said Revelli. “It’s great to see them involved at such young age and to be enjoying it.”