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Knights of Peter Claver seek help with donations of socks for shelters

The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary are conducting a “Sock Angel” campaign in parishes during August.

The campaign asks people to donate new socks for homeless individuals and people in need served by St. Patrick Center, Peter and Paul Community Services and the Missionaries of Charity. The Knights’ committee is working with parishes to place a donation box in vestibule area of churches. People also may donate $5 online or with a check or cash to the campaign.

The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary is the oldest and largest historically Black Catholic lay organization in the United States. They have spread faith, hope and love through friendship, unity and Christian charity in the community since 1909.

Peter Karutz, an Incarnate Word in Chesterfield parishioner and member of the Knights’ council at St. Matthew Parish in St. Louis, said the drive was intended to be in preparation for St. Peter Claver’s feast day, Sept. 9. St. Peter Claver was a Spanish Jesuit priest and missionary who became the patron saint of slaves, the Republic of Colombia, and ministry to African Americans. He is considered a heroic example of the Christian practice of love and human rights.

“We have so many people who are homeless and poor and in need,” Karutz said of the importance of the campaign.

Another fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus, donated the collection boxes and posters to be placed in churches. Karutz said the parishes that agreed to be collection sites are widespread, including the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Incarnate Word in Chesterfield, Holy Infant in Ballwin, Immaculate Conception in Dardenne Prairie and the parishes of the North St. Louis Deanery.

The “Sock Angel” campaign is being led by a committee of the Knights of Peter Claver that includes representatives from St. Alphonsus, St. Matthew, Incarnate Word and St. Elizabeth Mother of John the Baptist parishes.

Gerron Houston, one of the committee members helping with the campaign, said “it’s a great thing. Being with the Knights exposed me to do this and other fundraisers that benefit the less fortunate. To me, it’s all God’s work. I reap my blessings from it and keep pushing,” said Houston, who takes part through the council at his parish, St. Elizabeth Mother of John the Baptist in St. Louis.

He has big hopes for the program, saying it’s in God’s hands. “He’s leading the way right now,” Houston said.

The work of the Knights of Peter Claver “kind of changed the momentum of the energy out here, the violence and stuff that’s going on,” Houston said. “If we can go back to the basics and start giving, it may change people’s mindsets, the negative mindsets, and those not believing in God. This is what we’re up against nowadays.”

The Knights have been good for him, he said. “I’m really enjoying letting God lead me in this thing. It’s changed me and made me a better person.”

For more information, visit sockangel.org.

Sock Angel campaign

Drop off new socks in a collection bin at a parish or send cash or a check, payable to St. Louis Central Committee, to:

KPC LA Sock Angels

Sock Drive

1 Corrales Ct.

Florissant, MO 63034

Contributions and prayer requests also may be made online at sockangel.org.

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