600 coats purchased for children in Barry County
Knight of Columbus: ‘This is a labor of love’
The Knights of Columbus, with St. Edwards Church, have been working to provide children in need in Barry County coats.
The organization has already purchases 600 coats for children. Jim Brasel, a Knight of Columbus with the Church, is spearheading the local event.
“It all started with a Knights meeting about three weeks ago,” Brasel said. “Another Knight told us about Coats for Kids in Springfield.”
Brasel said he has a deep passion for children and families that need help.
“I thought, while listening at the meeting, how much this fit what I like to do,” Brasel said. “I wanted to see what I could do with it.”
According to Brasel, he first went to the local schools, where he worked with the counselors at the schools.
“Then, I went to the police department, the Head Start and OACAC, [Ozarks Areas Community Action Center],” Brasel said. “I can produce the coats, but I can’t produce the children who need them.”
Brasel said the OACAC office had just finished with its used coat drive, but still had children who needed coats.
“When I told her I wanted to give out new coats, she just about crushed me in a hug,” Brasel said.
According to Brasel, he then started working with local businesses to try to offset some of the Knights’ cost for the coats.
“I found my reception from businesses was overwhelmingly great,” Brasel said. “I am still out working with these businesses.”
Brasel said Springfield Knights have already purchased the coats from the factory.
“My coats will be here on Saturday so we can be ready for the crowd,” Brasel said. “Someone asked me, ‘What happens if you run out of coats?’
“My answer is, ‘If there is a child in our area that needs a coat, they are going to get it.’”
Brasel said no child from toddler to high school will go without a coat.
“I am dedicating this event to a fallen Knight that passed away in December 2015, Jack Hitchcock,” Brasel said. “He was a grand Knight in Cassville for several years.”
Brasel said Hitchcock just had a passion for children.
“He taught religion classes,” Brasel said. “I just feel like he needs to be honored, and we have a sign made up to honor him.”
According to Brasel, he is a bank president from Illinois.
“I used my bank as a catalyst for Toys for Kids with the hospital, police and fire departments in my community,” Brasel said. “This is a passion of mine, I had six of my own children.
“This is not work for me, it is a labor of love.”
People interested in providing cash donations can call Jim Brasel at 1-847-642-7397.