Knights of Columbus help with disaster efforts

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When the local Knights of Columbus councils heard that a historic flood was taking place in Louisiana, they immediately started collecting donations to distribute to the flood victims.

From Kiln and Picayune to southern Texas, many Knights of Columbus chapters worked with their communities to support those in need.

“If you have been in the South for a good amount of time, you understand the tragedies of going through a natural disaster,” Mike Radzyniak of the Knights of Columbus Council 7087 in Kiln said. “I’ve been through a lot of hurricanes, being from Florida, but I have never seen a bigger effort to support those in need than during this tragic flood.”

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With at least 120,000 Louisiana residents applying for federal disaster recovery, the Louisiana flood has been declared the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy, according to the American Red Cross.

Local Knights of Columbus Councils, like Kiln and Picayune, have united to collect and distribute various donations. Radzyniak and fellow Knight Bryan Cassagne, from council 6872 in Picayune, organized to help those in need as fast as possible.

Radzyniak said the flood victims are most in need of the things most people do not think about.

“Any donations are great. The more we can ship out to those in need the better. However, I have heard they are in need of bleach,” Radzyniak said. “Bleach can be used for more than just sanitizing homes, it can be used to clean water and get rid of mold that could eventually cause people to get sick.”

Radzyniak warns anyone who would use bleach to sanitize water as their last option, and only use a couple drops to do so to a gallon of water.

He said other necessities people need are drinking water and toiletries for adults and children.

Yesterday, the Knights of Columbus in Kiln packed a 17-foot truck and a trailer to go to a Knights of Columbus distribution center in LaPlace, Louisiana. They filled the truck with small furniture, appliances, clothes and shoes, drinking water, toiletries, non-perishable foods, bleach, bath soaps and a lot of toothbrushes, Radzyniak said.

The Knights of Columbus members are currently working with local Louisiana police stations to establish the best place to distribute donations to the victims.

With little time to plan, due to the swiftness of Mother Nature, the Knights of Columbus reacted quickly when they got the news, collecting donations before knowing exactly where they were going to be delivered.

“We knew we had to do something, and fast. Right when we got the word, we gathered together, reached out to the citizens and businesses to start helping,” Radzyniak said. “So many people have been affected but on the other side, I have never seen this many people contribute to a cause.”

The Knights of Columbus will continue to collect donations at local churched until a finalized collection center is established. Radzyniak said many citizens and members of churches in the Kiln community have been collecting and storing donations until further actions are made to establish a collection center.