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Ripon Knights of Columbus gets ready for Adopt-a-Family Christmas project

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POSTED November 24, 2012 1:39 a.m.

RIPON – The knights of many a legends’ fare rescue damsels in distress.

The Knights of Ripon and surrounding areas pound rural pavements to reach out and help struggling families.

The Knights of Columbus, that is.

Their outreach ministry is all part of their annual Christmas project called Adopt-a-Family. Started just a few years ago, the St. Patrick’s chapter of the Knights of Columbus has taken on this ministry in conjunction with the work of another faith-based group in the parish, the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Here’s how Adopt-a-Family works.

St. Vincent de Paul makes a list of families in the parish that are in dire economic straits. These are families that have contacted the church outreach group seeking for help. The list includes information about the families such as the number of children living in the home and what their needs are – e.g., food, clothing for the children, shoes and jackets. The Knights then put together packages for each of the families based on the needs list prepared by the St. Vincent de Paul volunteers.

The Knights, their wives and family members, as well as other volunteers do the shopping for the items, including toys for the children, and gift-wrap them individually. Each gift package is then personally delivered by a Knight of Columbus member to the families by way of a pre-arranged appointment.

“We call ahead of time to ask the most convenient time to go to their homes,” said Knight of Columbus member and volunteer Ben Rodriguez.

The package is not simply dropped off at the door. The Knights bring the box inside and personally present to the family members the individually-wrapped gifts that bear their name, indicating that the gift was selected specifically with them in mind. A gift card with a minimum of $50 is also given to each family for grocery shopping.

Last year, there were 23 families that were adopted by the program.

“I personally delivered to four of them in Ripon and Escalon,” said Rodriguez. One of the homes he visited had two families living in it, he said.

St. Patrick’s Parish serves the three communities of Ripon, Escalon and Farmington.

This Christmas, the Knights expect to adopt at least three-dozen families, perhaps more, Rodriguez said.



Many parishioners involved in raising funds for Adopt-a-Family


Since the inception of Adopt-a-Family, many members of the parish have stepped forward to help generate money for this ministry by holding various sales, auctions and other fund-raising events throughout the year.

One of these fund-raisers is coming up Sunday, Dec. 8, when the annual all-you-can-eat crab feed will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in the parish hall. Tickets are $45 each. Billed as a gourmet dinner, the menu will include salad, tri-tip, and pasta. There will be a silent auction and a raffle as well. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the church office.

Those who can’t attend the crab feed but would still like to help the Adopt-a-Family program may send donations to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 19399 E. Hwy 120, Ripon, CA 95366.

For additional details about the crab feed, Adopt-a-Family, or how to donate to the project, call the church office at (209) 838-2133.

The idea for Adopt-a-Family was “initiated by Father Peter (Carota)” years ago, explained Rodriguez.

“He would advertise and have families come to the (parish) hall. People would donate gifts and wrap them, and each kid could come and get a present. That kind of evolved into Adopt-a-Family,” he said.

St. Patrick’s Parish currently does not have a permanent pastor since the departure of Father Peter on Nov. 13 for a year-long sabbatical. Recently appointed as interim parish administrator is Father Alex Pachecho who was pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Linden until he retired two years ago.

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