The Lewans Agency provided a substantial financial donation to assist Meadow Lake Council 5259 to provide food to remote villages in Northern Saskatchewan that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assisting Catholic families from the loss of the breadwinner was the main reason the Order was started.
Leave No Neighbour behind is a program that exhibits our principle of Charity. The Knights are there to help those in need.
KNIGHTS AID FAR NORTH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Saskatchewan Knights travelled hundreds of kilometres north in June, hauling more than $12,000 of food to two remote villages pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic.
It wasn’t possible to go sooner: The entire far north region was placed under a strict travel lockdown in late April, as the coronavirus began to spread. The center of the outbreak was the village of La Loche and the adjacent Clearwater River Dene Nation. This combined area, which has only about 3,200 residents, saw nearly 200 cases of COVID-19 by late May.
The Knights, led by State Deputy Chris Bencharski, brought food hampers to Our Lady of Visitation Catholic Church in La Loche, to be distributed by the parish. They also made a delivery at Mary Magdelene Catholic Parish in Beauval, a village of about 700.
“There is a great need in the aboriginal communities in the north because of many socioeconomic issues, including a lack of well-paying jobs and the high costs of goods and services,” Bencharski said. “And now with the COVID-19 situation, there is even a greater need.”
Councils across Saskatchewan contributed funds to purchase the food, surpassing a matching grant of $5,000 from the Supreme Council Leave No Neighbor Behind Fund.
The Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus Charitable Foundation has also made grants to food pantries with many indigenous clients, including Guadalupe House in Saskatoon and Door of Hope in Meadow Lake. At Door of Hope, the $1,500 donation was supplemented by 1,000 pounds of groceries collected and delivered by members of Meadow Lake Council 5259, including State Deputy Bencharski.
Leave No Neighbor Behind has been a spur to action for the Knights in Saskatchewan, he said: “Aiding families is one reason the Knights of Columbus were formed. Leave No Neighbor Behind is an example of our principle of charity becoming real in the lives of those who require help.” — Reported by Cecilia Hadley, senior editor