Knights of Columbus pack over 40 gift baskets for the needy

Tom Drinkwater, left, and David Fairbanks of the Knights of Columbus pass out gift baskets to the needy at St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Woodstock Friday. Ashley Miller/Daily

WOODSTOCK – The Knights of Columbus in Woodstock provided over 40 Christmas meals to those in need throughout  Shenandoah County on Thursday and Friday.

Tom Drinkwater, the Knights’ Food Basket Chairman, described a greet need in the community. “To be able to provide a holiday gift basket to a family in need during Christmas season is what the Knights were created upon,” Drinkwater said.

Over 100 years ago, the Knights of Columbus were founded by Father Michael McGivney. His purpose was to provide the necessary means to provide for the less fortunate during the Industrial Revolution. A century later, the organization is stronger than ever. With over two million members, the Knights strive to continue Father McGivney’s charitable and fraternal endeavors.

David Fairbanks, a Knight and Santa’s Helper believes in giving back to the community, now more than ever. “People don’t understand how difficult it is for some families to put food on their table for the holiday season,” Fairbanks said. “We try to relive that stress any way we can.”

Approximately 1,300 pounds of food were distributed, including turkey, potatoes, canned goods, milk and eggs. And one dog was even lucky enough to get treats. “The turkeys are typically the most expensive item,” Drinkwater explained. “They range from $14 to $18 a piece.”

Kandace Leypoldt, St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Church’s parish secretary, said the community’s outreach is amazing. “We have over 650 families in our parish,” Leypoldt said. “And they provide any time we ask for their help.”

Rev. Michael Dobbins, St. John’s pastor, appreciates the community’s outreach in helping the less fortunate. “It’s a great thing to be able to offer not only at Christmas but at Thanksgiving,” Dobbins said. “It’s the spirit of Christmas.”

Contributors to this year’s gift baskets included Wal-Mart, Food Lion and Front Royal Aldi. There is also a generous benefactor who has supported Drinkwater’s mission since 1992 by donating various amounts of money. This year Drinkwater received a $1,000 check to provide baskets for Thanksgiving, Christmas and next Easter.

Drinkwater said the Knights worked closely with Carlo Taylor, Director of Shenandoah County Social Services and Lara O’Connor.

The baskets help families have a more joyful holiday,” Fairbanks said. “Simply knowing that people think about them is the best gift they could ever receive.”

Correction: 1,300 not 13,000 and pound changed to piece