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Nelson county benefit for Ukraine even bigger this year

A long line snaked around the Nelson Heritage Center cafetorium in Arrington for well over an hour April 21 as folks waited for a plate of smoked sausage, pierogies, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut and borsch doled out by local Knights of Columbus and volunteers.

For the second year in a row, the dinner, dessert and Polka music was all for the good of the Ukrainian people, ticket sales going towards relief efforts in the wartorn country.

This year, local Knights were joined by area churches, including Calvary Baptist, Grace Episcopal, Trinity Episcopal, Montreal Baptist, Nelson United Methodist and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church to throw an even bigger party.

“They understand the need for the people of Ukraine,” Grand Knight Wayne Parent said.

Last year, the benefit dinner and dance brought in $9,400 for the Polish Solidarity Fund, according to Knight Gary Jaketic. That donation was then matched by the National Knights of Columbus organization.

“We’re not a very big council, but for these events we punch above our weight,” Parent said.

Knight Gary Scott said the council flew in around 400 pounds of polish sausage from Chicago.

Parent added the council started planning this year’s benefit in January, and he was already thinking about how to expand ticket sales online next year.

The Knights of Columbus are a global Catholic fraternal service order, which Parent said as it’s origins in charity work, when in the late 19th century Connecticut Pastor Father Michael McGivney founded an insurance company that his poor parishioners could afford.

About the war in Ukraine, the night’s focus, Parent asked, “Who’s poorer than a person who has to leave their country?”

Parent said the Knights sold 210 tickets last year, and had surpassed that this year at about 330 prepaid tickets.

“Nights like this I know why I moved here.”


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