The Knights of Columbus Madonna Maria Council 3560, of Saint Joseph Church, fills items collected into backpacks to be shipped to Eastern Europe. (Photo courtesy of Sea Isle City)

After receiving a request from the Knights of Columbus (KofC) at Vineland Council 2531 for donated items for Ukrainian children, the members of KofC Madonna Maria Council 3560, of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Sea Isle City, organized a parish drive to collect first aid kits, stuffed animals, blankets, toiletries, coloring books, cleansing wipes, energy bars and backpacks.

Following the Saint Joseph Church “Back Pack Drive,” which resulted in many donations from parishioners, the Knights in Sea Isle City had enough items to fill 127 backpacks, which will leave the United States for Europe on June 7 in a 40-foot shipping container that was obtained by the Vineland Knights.

The shipping container, which will also carry items donated by other Catholics in the region, will be shipped to the members of KofC Council 15267 in Tomaszow Lubelski, Poland, who will then distribute the donations to Ukrainian refugees in Poland as well as displaced citizens living inside Ukraine.

“Our drive is going well overall,” said Albert Karwowski, a former KofC District 48 Deputy and current member of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Vineland. “Sea Isle City’s Knights were one of the largest contributors of children’s supplies — those guys did an awesome job. We were hoping for 25 backpacks from Sea Isle City, and we received 127.”

Madonna Maria Council Grand Knight Ed McFadden said, “This effort shows that free people will always band together against tyranny and repression. As Christians, we need to do all we can to help the people of Ukraine; and, as Knights of Columbus, this is part of our on-going mission to help others – this is what Knights do.”

For more information about the Knights of Columbus, of Saint Joseph Church in Sea Isle City, go to and click the “Parish Organizations” link on the home page.