Knights of Columbus present donation to St. John ARC

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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LAPLACE — The Msgr Bergeron Knights of Columbus Council 5935 extended support to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in St. John the Baptist Parish with a $1,500 donation to the St. John ARC Day Development Training Center.

Funds were collected from weekly bingo nights, hosted each Tuesday at the KC Hall at 346 Fir Street in LaPlace. Accepting the donation on behalf of the St. John ARC were instructor Sharon Boudreaux, client Matthew Tearney and director Linda Lambert.

The donation was presented last week during the weekly bingo, allowing the Knights a chance to see the impact their charitable contributions will have in the community.

The partnership between the Msgr Bergeron Knights of Columbus and the St. John ARC is more than 15 years strong, according to Ken Massett.

“Once we collect a sizable amount at our bingo, we present a donation to the St. John ARC. This was a check that covered probably two years of contributions because of the hurricane and COVID,” Massett said. “The other thing we do with the ARC is pay the clients to clean the hall a couple of times a month, which we are going to start back up again next month. We like to support them by paying them, and the clients enjoy getting out and performing duties like that. We are glad to help them out.”

This past fall, Director Linda Lambert told L’OBSERVATEUR that the St. John ARC is still rebounding from Hurricane Ida. The storm struck just a few months after the opening of a long-awaited new building at 101 Bamboo Road in LaPlace that provided an expanded space for education, workforce training and relaxation.

After the building was gutted, clients were stationed at First Baptist Church in LaPlace. The St. John ARC also lost its buses, which limited opportunities to connect clients with employment  in the community and also hindered transportation for clients who reside on the West Bank.

Despite the challenges, Lambert said the staff strived to instill a sense of normalcy for the clients, who were content just to be together.

The Knights of Columbus donation will help the St. John ARC continue providing services while covering expenses such as utilities and operation of buses.

The Knights of Columbus have also taken time to get back up and running at full speed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Many of the members were personally impacted by the storm and were displaced from their homes, according to Massett.

With life finally returning to normal, the Knights are eager to continue serving the community. Past service initiatives have included support for Catholic schools and seminaries.

Council 5935 donated the plaques for the Knights of Columbus tower dedicated to Col. Robert F. Hymel at St. Charles Catholic High School. The Knights have also supported students financially as they pursue a Catholic education.

“We always donate to seminaries, especially during the summer when they come serve at St. Joan of Arc. We have a scholarship for each of the grades for kids in Catholic high schools – eighth grade through 11th grade, and then college scholarships for high school seniors,” Massett said. “In past years the scholarships have been $250 each. This year, we will probably bump that up to $500 each.”