Knights of Columbus provides holiday warmth with Coats for Kids drive

Phil Drake

Marty Beatty chokes up a little bit when he talks about the time he saw a child cry after getting a new winter jacket in a coat giveaway.

When asked why they were crying, the child said it was “the first time I ever got a new coat,” Beatty said.

Beatty recalled that tale Thursday when he and other members of the Knights of Columbus No. 844 in Helena received winter jackets for the “Coats for Kids” program, which distributes the clothing throughout the area.

The local Knights raised enough money to buy 168 jackets from their state office, which got another $10,000 from the national office, enough for another 1,008 coats to be handed out throughout Montana. The state chapter matched the local donation, so seven boxes of jackets of various sizes turned into 14.

Billy Ross, state Coats for Kids coordinator, said Montana has one of the most active Coats for Kids programs in the country.

The Knights of Columbus is a global Catholic fraternal service order founded by Michael J. McGivney in 1882. It has nearly 300 members in Helena and prides itself on its charitable work, which includes food drives, Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.

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