The state of Colorado experienced record-breaking temperatures from December 2022 to January 2023. Months prior, Tony Cenedella and the rest of the Knights of Columbus Council 10205 at St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Centennial were busy collecting coats and other miscellaneous items in preparation for the cold snaps predicted by the Farmer’s Almanac.
The Knights began the program in 2009, as a way of distributing coats and winter clothing to kids in harsh climates, especially for families with children that were struggling financially. Since its inception, the program has handed out hundreds of thousands of articles of winter clothing and accessories to children coast-to-coast and Canada.
The operation has evolved to best suit the needs of the unhoused community during the winter months.
“It starts in my warehouse in September. St. Thomas More steps up to donate every week through September and October. We grab the donations to take to my warehouse, then we organize and bag up for distribution,” shared Cenedella. Regis Jesuit High School and Mullen High School students also team up to help the Knights with the organization process. “It is a blessing to come together as a community to help thousands of people every year. We certainly couldn’t do it on our own,” said Cenedella.
During this year’s drive alone, 1,816 items were donated to Catholic Charities. A dozen of our ministries and shelters have been given a cushion to clothe those in need. Tony Cenedella hopes to continue to grow in other cities and even states, to help with the need.
“It’s been such a joy to work alongside Tony, the Knights of Columbus and St. Thomas More on this extraordinary effort!” shared Mark Hahn, Catholic Charities Director of Parish and Volunteer Relations.
“Every year around November, I look forward to connecting with him, knowing that his and the Knights’ efforts provide so much warmth and compassion during our colder months. I am always so humbled by the sheer amount of quality coats, sweaters, and other winter wear collected through St. Thomas More.