“We live in a struggling city, so the more that people can put our faith into action to help others, the better everyone will be,” Jon Tamarin said of navigating life in America’s sixth-most populous city. “As a group, we value each chance to prove that.”
Displaying steadfast allegiance to their Knights of Columbus roots, he and his peers within the organization’s San Salvador Council #283 recently marked the fruits of their Spring Charity Drive, furthering not only joy in representing South Philly, but also gratitude for being able to aid Philadelphia at large.
Headquartered at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in the Lower Moyamensing section of South Philly, the 126-year-old San Salvador Council promotes the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism that have guided the Knights of Columbus since its 1882 inception.
Given that the Knights operate as the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, the local representatives know that a universal approach to assisting others will spread the messages of hope and renewal quickly.
Enter the charity drive.
“We love doing work within the city,” Council Treasurer John DeFeo said of accepting the call to assist people no matter their situation. “This was another chance to do so.”
Through Epiphany of our Lord, St. Paul’s Parish in South Philly’s Bella Vista neighborhood, the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia in its Point Breeze area, and Ninth Street Italian Market businesses, the San Salvador Council, with Tamarin as Grand Knight, set out to be a lifeline to women served by Mercy Hospice. The program is a ministry of Catholic Social Services which offers stability and hope to women in recovery from substance abuse— in particular mothers with young children
Thanks to contributions tallying $4,700, diapers and other baby care products will be available to mothers in need. A clothing collection conducted by the council will further bolster the work of Catholic Social Services.
“There have been no rejected doors when we have sought to make a difference,” DeFeo said, adding that he feels blessed to be among individuals who likewise see that less “I” and more “we” will carry the day.
“That’s really something that many people understand when they come to have a deeper understanding of their faith,” Tamarin stated. “Living out your faith means many things and helping others to see their worth and dignity is definitely one of them.”
The Spring Charity Drive dovetails with the council’s Coats for Kids initiative to give the second-year Grand Knight and his fellow Knights two noteworthy successes to their names in 2022-2023, with the Sisters of Saint Joseph Welcome Center in Kensington being the winter beneficiary. It illustrates the commitment of these Knights to citywide change. With serving others as a key component of their mission, the Knights are vigilant in promoting a life rooted in service and hope to inspire others to find fulfillment through like action.
“We want to do everything we can to unite the Catholic community in South Philly especially, but everywhere that we can touch is a plus,” Tamarin said, explaining that the council has a full late summer and fall slate of plans and events.
These include the purchase of a new St. Rita statue for St. Paul’s, participation in the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish Italian Festival, involvement in a Philadelphia Navy Yard-based Alex’s Lemonade Stand event, and support for the St. Paul Parish Young Adult Ministry Speaker Series event that is supporting the canonization of Father Bill Atkinson, the first paraplegic ordained to the priesthood.
“There was a period where everything was rather slow,” DeFeo said of a rough patch for the San Salvador Council.
“We’ve seen a resurgence lately, and we want to keep that going because there’s so much to gain from increasing your faith by helping others.”
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