Sweating the Details

Knights leave a sheen at homeless agency

Every Knights of Columbus council has longstanding relationships with local charities and organizations, offering a range of services throughout the year. Sometimes that means assisting with fundraising or social events, and sometimes it means rolling up the sleeves and doing the grunt work of keeping the facilities in top condition.

For St. Matthew Council 14360 in Norwalk, Conn., a regular partner is the Family and Children’s Agency Community Connections Center (FCA), which offers support and resources to people experiencing homelessness. Over the past 11 years, the council has often sponsored picnics, outings, and sporting events for the families served by the center, and it has partnered with FCA for its annual Coats for Kids distribution.

Recently, however, members of the council volunteered for some more mundane but necessary work, brandishing mops, brushes, and janitorial supplies to help with the facility’s semi-annual deep cleaning. The council performed masterful work on all of the chairs and tables as well as cleaning all the baseboards and the computer area. They also washed windows and mopped floors in the central areas of the center.

The council first took on the regular cleanings in October 2018 when Lisa Habasinski, FCA’s manager of community engagement, reached out to Past Grand Knight and FCA liaison George Ribellino. “When Lisa called and asked, I said our council would love to help,” Ribellino recalled. After the task was finished, he asked if they could do it again in the spring.

“Our Knights council truly loves to put faith in action,” Ribellino said. “Although we do fundraisers to donate funds to various organizations, our brothers love to be hands on with our outreach.”

With the most recent October deep cleaning, the council also collected and donated toiletries and other supplies to assist the homeless families served by FCA.

“Our council wanted to do something in addition to the cleaning, so I reached out to FCA and they mentioned it would help if they could have some of necessities for the clients over the winter months,” Ribellino said.

The FCA provides one-on-one case management and services to develop the skills for homeless adults and families to achieve self-sufficiency. The agency’s social workers and case managers help them gain access to medical and behavioral health services as well as community resources to assist them while transitioning from homelessness to independent living. The center also offers a daily breakfast, laundry facilities, and a variety of classes and skill-building activities.

Grand Knight Anthony Armetano was pleased with the council’s efforts. “We are blessed to partner with such a great organization in FCA,” he said. “I am proud of my Brothers for not only showing up bright and early on a Saturday morning but to also help bring much needed supplies for them to use as well.”