Vancouver Knights spread holiday cheer to the homeless

  • Written by Nathan Whalen
  • Published in Local
The Knights of Columbus and choir members from St. John the Evangelist Church in Vancouver sing Christmas carols at a local homeless shelter. Photo: Courtesy Jerry Andre The Knights of Columbus and choir members from St. John the Evangelist Church in Vancouver sing Christmas carols at a local homeless shelter. Photo: Courtesy Jerry Andre

VANCOUVER – The Knights of Columbus at St. John the Evangelist Parish have been busy making the holidays happier for the less fortunate.

With the help of volunteers, the Knights filled 400 stockings full of goodies for people experiencing homelessness. They handed out some of the stockings to guests at local homeless shelters, where they sang Christmas carols, accompanied by one of the parish choirs.

“They accompany us because we are not great singers,” joked Jerry Andre, financial secretary for St. John the Evangelist Council 12983, who helped organize the holiday events.

On Dec. 9, the Knights hosted a day at a local theater, where 580 parishioners and people staying in the area’s three homeless shelters got to see their choice of four first-run movies.

“It’s basically a giveback to the parish and local homeless shelters,” Andre said of the day. Parishioners paid a discounted rate to see the movies (with the Knights paying the difference), while free admission was given to St. John’s altar servers and the homeless guests, who also received filled stockings.

Vancouver KnightsFrank and Laura Hurley dress up as Santa and Mrs. Claus during a movie event organized by the Knights of Columbus Council 12983 at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Vancouver. Photo: Courtesy Jerry Andre

The Advent event “brings families together and it brings the parish together,” said Father Tom Belleque, pastor at St. John’s. “It’s a really joy-filled holiday.”

It’s just one of the ways the Knights work to bring the parish together, Father Belleque said. The group’s monthly pancake breakfast raises money for parish activities. In the fall, the Knights hosted a free “spuds and splits” event (baked potatoes and banana splits) as a thank you to parishioners for supporting Knights activities throughout the year, the pastor said.