By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
Last month, the Pella Knights of Columbus raised more than $40,000 at its Pellathon to support the annual Campaign for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (CPID).
Sometimes known as the “Tootsie Roll Drive,” the CPID is an annual, weeklong campaign in which KofC councils raise money to support and empower individuals with disabilities in their communities. The Pella council’s CPID collections are consistently among the highest in the state of Iowa.
The livestreamed event took place at the Pella Opera House on Aug. 24 from 1-8 p.m. At the beginning of the broadcast, KNIA/KRLS Lil’ Big Red Radio highlighted the organizations receiving support from the Knights of Columbus through on-air interviews. Interviewers spoke with individuals with disabilities, their families, and people who work with individuals with disabilities, said Joe Lickteig, a Pella knight who helps organize the campaign each year.
Later, local musicians provided entertainment, including parishioner Kaylin Vos, a vocal music major at Drake University in Des Moines. Bella Van Gorp, a local youth with special needs, performed a dance “which was one of the greatest moments of the night,” Lickteig said. Father Troy Richmond, pastor of St. Mary parishes in Pella and Oskaloosa, showed off his trumpeting skills. First, he joined Central College-Pella jazz professor Gabriel Espinosa and a team of vocalists and later, performed the Iowa State fight song to close out the show.
All the while, knights made phone calls from behind a long table on stage, asking parishioners, local businesses, community members, previous donors, friends and family members for donations. They also called members of the Pella Kiwanis Club, whom the knights assisted with fundraising and construction of an all-inclusive park.
Working from a call sheet, the knights made upwards of 700 calls, about four times as many as last year. Other KofC volunteers updated the totals on the back wall. By the end of the night, the knights had collected nearly $36,000 in pledges — more than twice last year’s Pellathon total — and that amount will grow. “We left 300 messages so more pledges could come in in the coming weeks,” Lickteig said.
At press time, totals from the Pellathon had exceeded $41,000. Those funds, combined with traditional storefront donations, will go to area organizations that support people with disabilities, including the Pella and Pella Christian Special Education departments, Christian Opportunity Center, Wonder Spelen (all-inclusive park) and Iowa Special Olympics