For The Catholic Messenger
DEWITT — Knights of Columbus Council 959 has raised more than $99,000 toward a $1 million fundraising effort for a new building to house the community referral center. Council donations and an individual member challenge contributed to the Knights’ fundraising success.
The DeWitt Referral Center had asked the KC Council if “we were willing to help meet their lofty goal of $1 million,” said Grand Knight Don Fuglsang. “At our next meeting we decided to do something, we just weren’t sure to what degree.”
The membership agreed to donate $15,000 as a council and challenged the approximately 130 Knights to try to match the $15,000. To date, the Knights have donated more than $99,400 for the DeWitt Referral Center, a local food pantry, thrift store and referral site that has served the DeWitt community for nearly 50 years.
“They’ve been in great need for a larger facility to serve those living on the margins now and into the future,” Fuglsang said. The referral center aims to be the place where community members can walk through the doors in their most vulnerable moments and be treated with dignity, compassion and respect while receiving the support they immediately need. With financial support from many individuals and organizations, the DeWitt Referral Center is closing in on its $1 million goal for a new facility, he said.
In 2018, the center served 5,187 people with food pantry assistance, provided more than 2,200 clothing and household items to those in need, and gave more than $63,000 in emergency financial support.
The new facility will offer:
• Larger food storage space to accept bulk foods at reduced cost.
• Cooler and freezer space to offer frozen and refrigerated items.
• Dedicated drop-off zones to make donating food and thrift store items easier.
• Private offices for sensitive conversations.
• Larger thrift store space for selling furniture, appliances and more.
• A washer and dryer to help clean donated items.
• Additional rooms to provide more referral services.
• ADA compliance.
“Charity is at the heart of our faith and the Knights of Columbus. It always has been and always will be. For the Knights, charity means supporting a virtually boundless variety of projects,” Fuglsang said.