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Tim Anderson is the grand knight of the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of the Rosary Council 3300. (Photo courtesy of Maria Anderson )
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A bit more than 12 years ago, Tim Anderson and his family were looking to buy a home. Tim had lived in New Haven for most of his life and he and his wife, Maria, along with their daughter Jaimi, decided to rent a condo in East Haven for a year while they decided where they wanted to lay down their roots.
While they were house hunting throughout the area, the family began attending Our Lady of Pompeii (OLOP) Church. Tim not only became involved in the church, but at the same time, his brother suggested they join the Knights of Columbus (KOC) together, taking after their father, who used to also be a knight.
“I like the fact that they give back so much to the community and to the church,” says Tim. “We try to do as much as we can.
In addition to becoming involved with the KOC, Tim also started helping in the church. He is an altar server and a lector. He quickly became ingrained in the community and the family decided to call East Haven home.
“We looked around everywhere, but we just loved it here so much,” says Tim, who has been married to Maria for 21 years. “Our Lady of Pompeii is one of the reasons we decided to stay in East Haven. It’s a very active parish that is always doing differed things and it was perfect for my daughter’s religious education with communion and confirmation.”
In the years since making that decision, Tim has become increasingly more involved in the KOC. He is now in his third term as grand knight, serving as leader of his council, which is the Our Lady of the Rosary Council 3300—a group with more than 250 members from the parishes of St. Clare’s, St. Vincent de Paul, and OLOP.
KOC gives back to the community in many ways throughout the year. Initiatives include a food drives, coat drives, and a substance abuse awareness poster contest that has seen the knights place several winners at the international level over the past seven years.
For the past few years, the parishioners of the three churches have donated coats and funds toward coat and cold-weather gear for the coat drive, giving away hundreds of coats to children in need. Tim recalls a moment during the first-ever coat drive when several children were displaced from Puerto Rico after a hurricane and ended up in East Haven.
“They were up here without anything and we gave them these coats and they started crying because they were so grateful—these are the kind of things that make my day,” says Tim. “You could see the people in the church shedding a tear because they’re part of that and did that for these kids. Those are the kind of things I like the best.”
Tim and his fellow knights have received similar reactions after they drop off the donated items from the food drives that are held twice a year. With the help of donations from the parish and the community, KOC collects about 8,000 pounds of food, in addition to cash donations, each year for the East Haven Food Pantry.
“The food drives are very important to our community—I can’t emphasize enough how important they are and how much the people at the pantry appreciate it when you’re bringing in 3,500 pounds of food at a time,” says Tim. “Last year we brought in 27 turkeys that were donated by the public.”
Tim stresses that while he holds the title of grand knight, there are many people involved in making the fundraisers and community events a success. He also notes that the KOC, as an international group, often does a lot of work that doesn’t get recognized, like donating $350,000 toward hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas within a week of the storm.
While the knights meet monthly, there are often activities and events that bring them together throughout each month. They are hosting a parish picnic to show their appreciation to the parishioners for their support over the years.
On Thursday, Sept. 26, there will be a car show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at OLOP. Proceeds from those showing cars and from the food booth run by the knights will benefit the scholarship fund that is designated for parishioners’ children and grandchildren. The public is invited to the car show and there is no admission fee for spectators.
The Knights also march in the Columbus Day parade each year. This year’s parade will be held on Sunday, Oct. 13 in Branford. Tim enjoys marching with other councils from New Haven County and the “camaraderie and companionship” of the day.
Other upcoming events include the Ladies’ Guild Christmas Fair at OLOP on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16 and 17 where Tim and his family will run the kitchen, making soups and chowders and the Knights’ volunteer night at Fantasy of Lights on Friday, Dec. 6 where Tim looks forward to playing Santa for the kids. The knights also host yearly events such as a Valentine’s Day Dance, pasta dinners, a blessing of the bikes that drew more than 100 motorcycles last May, and volunteering at the OLOP annual carnival.
“It’s a church carnival, but the knights are helping wherever help is needed, including our fried dough tent,” says Tim. “The church is very important to me so we do what we can there and my wife and daughter are right there by my side when we do things.”
Tim is employed by the Town of Woodbridge where he has worked maintaining the athletic fields for the past 15 years, a job he loves because he gets to be outside all day. Tim spent many years doing mud runs and tough mudders, but now, outside of his work with the knights, his favorite thing to do is travel to historic places with his family.
“We get away when we can. We went to Philadelphia for Fourth of July and it was amazing,” says Tim, who notes his daughter is studying to be a history teacher. “We’ve been to Gettysburg twice, which is an awe-inspiring place, and we’ve been to D.C. at least four times for the museums and sites.”
Tim encourages those interested in the knights to reach out and notes that anyone who wants to learn more should visit the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, which is free to visit. He also encourages everyone to give back to their community in some way.
“Anything you need to know about the knights, you can learn there,” says Tim. “When you’re giving back, there’s nothing better for me. We don’t all have a lot of money, but it doesn’t always have to be about money, sometimes it’s about lending a little helping hand.”
For more information about the knights of Columbus, call 203-999-0400 or visit www.ctstatecouncil.org.
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