DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
KINGSLAND — While political words fly regarding the influx of unaccompanied children from Central America, at least one local Catholic church organization wants to make sure the kids get some basic necessities.
“There are several Catholic churches along the border who are housing many of these children and some of the women,” said Chuck Woods, a Knights of Columbus member at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Kingsland. “Those churches have asked for help with supplies such as toiletries and other items.”
The Diocese of Austin sent out requests for supplies to area parishes including a list of needs. Woods said, instead of having people transport items to the Austin Diocese, he decided to set up a collection spot at the Kingsland church, 205 Trinity Drive.
The collection box is in Lee Hall, which is located in the back of the church.
“I just want to make it easy for people who want to help out,” Woods said.
Woods said this is just about helping the kids, not the politics.
“This isn’t about the issue, it’s about the kids,” he said. “They need so many things, and we want to get them what we can.”
As the supplies come in and the Knights of Columbus collect a truckload or so, Woods and other volunteers will drive it down to one of the border churches.
“We’ll drop the supplies off, and then we’ll spend the rest of the day volunteering and helping about before coming back,” Woods said. “We’ll just keep collecting things and going down until they say it’s not needed anymore.”
Officials estimate more than 50,000 children from several Central American countries have illegally crossed the border in the past year. But the influx has slowed in recent days, according to some reports.
Those already in the country are staying in shelters along the border including many churches as well as several military bases in Texas and even Oklahoma.
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men’s group that raises money for charities around the globe and provides volunteer services as well. According to the Catholic fraternal organization’s website, www.kofc.org, the Knights raised and donated more than $167.5 million in 2012 and volunteered more 70 million hours for charitable causes.
“We help out wherever we can,” Woods said. “And that’s what we want to do for the kids coming across the border, just help them out.”
Items the Knights of Columbus are collecting include:
- new women’s tennis shoes (sizes 5 to 8½)
- new children’s tennis shoes (sizes 2-12)
- new women’s cotton underwear (sizes 5 and under)
- new children’s cotton underwear
- baby toiletries (infant to toddler)
- disposable diapers
- baby wipes
- Nido baby formula/powered milk
- hygiene products (sanitary napkins, no tampons)
- small towels
- children’s blankets
- small backpacks
- easy open snacks
- easy open juices
- Rebozos (baby sling/wraps)
- reading glasses