Student-athletes help Knights of Columbus raise money for children with intellectual disabilities

by Austin Dart /

The Knights of Columbus has worked with PC and Pella student-athletes to increase donations nearly tenfold for special education projects in both schools in the past few weeks.

With the recent addition of the sports teams participating in these fundraisers, donations have skyrocketed. “Several years ago the fundraising was raising what we felt was a pretty good donation of close to $3,000.  This year the overall donations broke $27,000 in donations from people and businesses in the community,” cross country coach Mike Buccheit said.

Several PC athletes volunteered multiple times.  “I volunteered at Walmart and a PCHS football game because all my time and money belongs to God,” senior Davis Montgomery said.

Until recently, the Knights of Columbus only worked with public schools. “Three years ago, someone over there suggested they start working with Christian schools,” special education teacher Nicole Van Wyk said. The organization has been supporting PCHS since then.

Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is one of the world’s largest Catholic service organizations. Charity has always been their first principle, according to their website at Their projects include the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, Disaster Relief, and Coats for Kids. They also partner with other groups such as the Special Olympics, Global Wheelchair Mission, and Habitat for Humanity.

Around the world, the Knights of Columbus do many things. “Globally the Knights are doing so many things like defending our Christian faith and rising up during difficult events like floods, national disasters, and humanitarian crisis,” said Knights of Columbus member Joe Lickteig.

Most of the money raised for the Knights of Columbus in Pella goes to help people with intellectual disabilities in the local area. This money is distributed to PC, PHS, the Christian Opportunity Center, and new this year, to The Kiwanis for the Wonder Spelen, the future all-inclusive disability park. Additionally, 10% of the donations go to the Iowa Special Olympics.

Projects at PC that are supported by the Knights of Columbus include life skills classes and social skills classes in order to reduce costs for students who need those classes, according to Van Wyk.

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