By Jim Brockert
Jim Weigand, Fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus in Muscatine and a 20-year cancer survivor, has a lot to be thankful for and is an example of living a guiding principle of the Knights of Columbus — charity.
In 2005, Jim and his wife, Carol, learned of a recently widowed mother with two children who had just lost their husband and father and were in need of assistance. Jim and Carol brought Thanksgiving dinner to that family. From that gesture of kindness began a yearly tradition of providing Thanksgiving dinners for local families in need.
The next year the Weigands brought dinners to two more families. They told a family friend about how rewarding it feels to make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate.
That friend wanted to see more families served at Thanksgiving and became an anonymous donor for what has become an annual project.
In 2010, Jim invited a fellow Knight and me to help deliver Thanksgiving dinners prepared by the Hy-Vee catering department to individual families at the local Jesus Mission Church and to the homeless shelter at Muscatine Center for Strategic Action. In all, more than 300 local residents were served Thanksgiving dinner. Their gratitude had a profound emotional impact on us.
The great thing about this project is that it involves many volunteers and anonymous donors from around the area, as well as local businesses, especially Jeff Canfield, Hy-Vee store director, and the Muscatine Knights of Columbus Council 1305. The Muscatine council has pledged to maintain the tradition of this project in the future, even when Jim is no longer able to participate.
He has the gift of being able to build community by involving many generous people in the area, exemplifying other guiding principles of the Knights of Columbus: To be of service to family, those in need, the community and Church. Last year, the Muscatine KCs held a pancake breakfast to raise money for the Thanksgiving dinners.
Because of these efforts and generous donors, a large balance is available to help with costs for this year’s dinners. Anyone may donate to the fund during the year at Central State Bank in Muscatine.
This year’s fundraiser will be a Beef and Noodles Dinner to be held Nov. 6 in Gannon Hall at St. Mathias Church, 215 W Eighth St., Muscatine, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. The brother of a local Knight is providing the beef and a group of women from Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish makes the noodles.
What better way to spend part of a Sunday evening than to go to a dinner which provides so many Thanksgiving dinners for other people in need?
We all have so much to be thankful for; let’s provide something for others to be thankful for as well, and help build up our community.
We hope you’ll help us to keep Jim and Carol Weigands’ legacy alive and growing.
(Jim Brockert is a member of Muscatine Knights of Columbus Council 1305.)