KELSO – When the Kelso High School Hilanders have a home football game, the Knights of Columbus fire up the grill next door at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
The Knights serve a hamburger supper in the parish hall, raising about $1,000 during the football season to help youth in the parish and community. Offering a meal before games made sense, since the parish is adjacent to the football field and many fans park in the parish lot.
“Our foremost purpose is charity,” said Michael Marum, program director for Knights of Columbus Council 12786, “and this generates the means to provide charity to ‘Clothes for Kids’ and religious programs at the parish as well.”
Each game night, 75 to 100 people enjoy the Knights’ menu: a choice of hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken burger or hot dog, plus baked beans, potato salad, chips, a brownie and beverage. “It’s definitely a full meal deal,” Marum said.
For Knight Danny Gemar, flipping burgers for the game night dinners holds special significance — Gemar was a running back for KHS in 1973. “Being a Hilander is a great thing,” he said. But it’s even better to be Catholic and a Knight, he added.
“It’s about serving God,” Gemar said. “We can support our community, and it’s wonderful.”
Parishioners and community members of all ages enjoy food and fellowship at Kelso’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish before a Kelso High School football game. Photo: Michael Marum
One way the dinners support the community is by helping fund the “Clothes for Kids” program. In December, some 15 kids from seven local schools are invited to a clothes shopping event at the local Fred Meyer. The Knights donate about $200 per child for new clothes, but additional store discounts mean the kids go home with about $350 worth of clothes, Marum said.
The supper events aren’t just a way to feed people and raise money, Marum said — they’re also a chance for the local community to experience Catholics in action. “We support not just our parish, but the community at large, and can evangelize that way,” he said.
Kelso’s last regular-season home game is Oct. 27, and the Knights, powered by their faith, will be ready to fire up the grill.