PORTLAND — For more than 40 years, members of Knights of Columbus councils throughout Maine have headed to churches, community centers, and other locations carrying cases of Tootsie Rolls they hope to turn into money for organizations that help people who have intellectual and learning disabilities.
The Tootsie Roll drive is officially titled the “Campaign for People with Intellectual Disabilities,” during which local councils collect donations from donors who are offered Tootsie Rolls as a token of thanks.
In 2018, the Maine Knights raised $101,370 to support a variety of local and statewide organizations and groups in their efforts in the coming year.
In the past, some of the recipients have included Special Olympics Maine, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham, the Morrison Center in Scarborough, the Pine Tree Camp in Rome, the Elizabeth Levinson Center in Bangor, the Travis Mills Foundation, Waban, Veterans Count Maine, and the Aroostook Medical Center’s Adult and Pediatric Brain Injury Program.
The top fundraising Knights of Columbus councils were from Wells, having raised $23,028; Bangor, $8,740; Limerick, $4,600; Old Town, $4,280; and Calais, $3,921.
As grateful as the recipients are to receive the needed funds, the Knights experience the same level of enjoyment in providing them.
“It’s what we do,” said Anthony Alfiero, community director for the Maine State Knights of Columbus. “We just want to help people.”
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men’s fraternal benefit society that was formed to render financial aid to members and their families, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland’s website.