Ed Diehl showed off the Knights of Columbus St. Anthony Hall in Sublimity, Ore., stuffed to the rafters with containers of food, clothing and other donated items destined for victims of the recent wildfires in the nearby Santiam Canyon.
The hall has been the collection point for those donations, said Diehl, the local council’s grand knight. Everything in the store is free of charge.
“We asked, ‘What do families need right now?’” he said. “The Knights of Columbus needed to take an active role in this because it’s what we’re all about, serving our community.”
The council began to gather food, clothing, bedding, tents, pet food — even toys for children of families in need who had to leave everything behind when they fled.
“We basically began taking in massive amounts of donations through Santiam Hospital’s Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund,” he said, “and the Knights of Columbus supported that effort by being the donation and goods delivery hub.”
He said the knights have three warehouses of inventory in Stayton and Sublimity, and the group is working with Gates Community Church to stock its store, which has a similar operation.
“I guess the real story that makes me humbled and just inspired is this: I made a call on a Friday, Sept. 11, just to see if we could use the hall and got formal confirmation that we could on Saturday morning,” Diehl said.
“By the end of the day on Monday we had a store, fully stocked, with shelves and inventory, ready to go for families on Tuesday at 10 a.m.”