Pine River Schools and Goodtime Bowlers receive donations from Lake County Knights of Columbus

LAKE COUNTY — This week, the Lake County chapter of the Knights of Columbus contributed two donations of $680 to local groups which the Knights believe to be positive influences in Lake County.

Grand Knight Wayne Boorsma was on hand to distribute the donations. He said his organization is happy to take charitable action such as this which is central to the mission of the Knights.

"These are two of the many charitable causes we donate to," said Boorsma. "It's in the nature of the Knights. The first premise of our group is meaningful, active charity. We know there are groups like this that can't do what they do without funding."

The first of the two groups receiving a donation this week was the Goodtime Bowlers in Baldwin, a group that assists those who are mentally challenged take an active part in Lake County activities.

"We are from the West Michigan Community of Mental Health here in Lake County, and we integrate mentally disabled people into the community" said Christa LaDuke, the group leader. "We really appreciate the Knights of Columbus giving us donations every year so we can enjoy taking part in activities like this in the community."

The Goodtime Bowlers do more than just bowl. Leaders like LaDuke take them to a variety of places to help both themselves and others. They volunteer at events, help out at area business and hold coffee meetings to get to know their neighbors and allow their neighbors to get to know them.

"It gives them a sense of purpose and makes them feel they are an important part of this community," said LaDuke.

The second donation went to the Pine River School District to help fund its special education classes. The classes are led by teacher Scott Benson who educates the students all but one hour of each day. The money will go towards making crafts and projects which the class sells to other students, or helps pay for the costs of field trips and volunteer opportunities.

"The Knights are great, wonderful guys and getting the money this way makes our class self-sufficient and not dependent on the school district," said Benson. "When they got this money, it really blew the kids away. They are so appreciative of it. Without help like this, I don't know if we could do all of this."

Boorsma said donations are what define the Knights and show what their core mission is.

"We're a fraternal organization that's involved in the community in a myriad of ways," explained Boorsma. "We want to make sure there's someone in the community who will help in cases like this both financially and by volunteering."