“I never thought I’d see days like this again,” said Knight of Columbus member Joe Riggio, referencing the economic troubles of the Great Depression. “They’re so happy to get the meals, especially these days.”
The Knights spent Saturday afternoon in the Grand Avenue clubhouse putting together 80 trays of turkey, stuffing and mixed vegetables. They also filled paper bags with goodies like wrapped cakes and cookies, juice boxes, fruit, dinner rolls, and even carnations.
“Everything is donated so giving back to the community really is a community effort,” said member Joe Reklis, pointing out that the Maspeth Lions Club would be joining the Knights the following morning to deliver the meals. Food donations came from beloved neighborhood eateries including O’Neill’s, Frank’s Deli, and Three Sons Pizzeria, while financial donations poured in from local organizations and individuals.
President Pat Consola said that the recipients wait for the meals on Easter morning and enthusiastically thank the people who deliver them.
“When you don’t have anything and you get a hot meal, you look forward to it,” he said.
Even though the Knights are seniors themselves (Riggio estimated the average member age at 70, and the oldest member is 92), they consider it their duty to aid those who need a little help. Throughout the year, they do things like contribute money to priests in seminary and organize blood donation drives.
“We’ve got four steps, and one of them is charity,” said member Dominic Coticchio. “That’s what we’re here for.”
The Knights of Columbus are looking for new members (men only; women can join the Ladies Auxiliary). The group also rents out their hall on the weekends for special occasions, like sweet 16 parties, baby showers, and First Communion celebrations. For more information, stop by 69-60 Grand Avenue or call (718)507-5958.