Members of St. Jude’s Knights of Columbus donating coats to Hopelink last week. From left to right: Dan Vache, John Bachler, Jeff Gomes, Dennis Obermeier, Ron Holtz, Joe Matthews and Daryl Remily. Courtesy photo

Members of St. Jude’s Knights of Columbus donating coats to Hopelink last week. From left to right: Dan Vache, John Bachler, Jeff Gomes, Dennis Obermeier, Ron Holtz, Joe Matthews and Daryl Remily. Courtesy photo

Knights of Columbus helps clothe Eastside children and families

The local chapter of the nonprofit Knights of Columbus donated nearly 150 coats to charity organizations on the Eastside.

The chapter, based out of St. Jude’s Catholic Parish, partnered with the national organization, receiving the coats and distributing them to Hopelink, Catholic Community Services, Holy Innocence Catholic Parish and Heartbeat, which is a wounded warrior project.

John Bachler and Dennis Obermeier were part of the team that delivered the coats to Hopelink last Friday.

“It just kind of adds meaning to life knowing you’re out there doing good in the community,” Obermeier said.

Knights of Columbus is largely a men’s group that undertakes charitable work in its communities.

This year, the local chapter decided to donate coats, but they’re also planning a pancake feed on Dec. 17 at the parish and a crab feed later this winter.

“The Knights have kind of said we’ll hop on that bandwagon and help distribute coats,” Obermeier said.

This year, the national organization donated around 80,000 coats, with more than 400,000 being distributed across the country since 2009.

This year in particular, many coats on the East Coast went to refugees from Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and many of the U.S. citizens that live there were forced to relocate to other parts of the country following a devastating hurricane.

“They’re not prepared for cold weather,” Obermeier said.

But it’s not just people who are displaced that need assistance, Bachler said.

Many families in Puget Sound, which has a high cost of living, struggle to make ends meet.

“So many people, children, families don’t have the resources to purchase coats for their families,” Bachler said.

Other organizations, like Hopelink, which received some of the coats, are also planning on providing holiday assistance.

Darrell Bulmer, associate director of communications for Hopelink, said a major program will be turning their five food banks into holiday gift rooms.

A list of locations and times this will be happening is available at the Hopelink website (hopelink.org) under Holiday Gift Rooms.

Food banks are located in Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, SnoValley and Shoreline.

For the gift rooms, Bulmer said they take the food bank and turn it into a holiday store for their clients.

“We don’t want the children of our clients to feel different, we want them to grow up having the same experience their peers in school have,” Bulmer said. “We’re always aiming to keep clients children on par with their peers so they don’t feel like their childhood experience is different.”

This year, Hopelink is planning on serving more than 7,000 children.

In order to raise toys and clothes, which are all donated, they run around 250 community drives during the holiday season.

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