By RON KUZLIK     5/24/2023

The Orange County Chapter of the Knights of Columbus recently held its 43rd annual “Day of Sharing” on the campus of the Speech and Language Development Center in Buena Park.

Over 100 Brother Knights from 26 local councils (plus one council from Riverside County) helped to make the April 15 event such a success.

Originally started 45 years ago by the late former chapter president Frank Nigro, the event was originally a two-day event called “Weekend of Love.”

This year’s event was the second year it was held following a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year was tough,” said Steve Bolton, past state deputy, and current state advisor. “People were still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, but this year rebounded with about twice the turnout!”

The 2023 Day of Sharing was co-chaired by Brother Knights Glen Howard and Ron Klucsar and featured a carnival for people with developmental disabilities.

“Most of the guests are from group homes in the area,” said Howard. “But we also sent invitations to the parishes of the Diocese of Orange and to the Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC),” which is a network of non-profit organizations contracted by the State of California to coordinate lifelong services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

The guests and their caretakers were treated with games, rides, lunch and entertainment at no cost to them.

This is the 10th year that the Speech and Language Development Center (SLDC) has held the Day of Sharing.

“Our mission is to provide education and therapy to children and adults with special needs in an environment that nurtures growth, inspires achievement and maximizes their potential,” said Jenny O’Grady, who serves as the director of education at SLDC.

To help defray costs, the Orange County Chapter of the Knights of Columbus utilized funds donated by local councils and an annual fundraising event specifically devoted to the Day of Sharing.

In addition, the Huntington Beach Fire Department donated about 10 large bags of toys for carnival prizes.

Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Eros of the Huntington Beach Fire Department said that the success of their Spark of Love to drive is due to the overwhelming generosity of Huntington Beach residents.

“The HBFD is thrilled that our partnership with the Knights of Columbus has brought joy to children in our community,” Eros said.

Past state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. John Neneman, pastor of San Antonio de Padua Catholic Church in Anaheim Hills, opened the Day of Sharing with a prayer and offered a blessing on the event for all the volunteers and participants.

“The Knights of Columbus is the glue that keeps us together with our brothers and sisters in need, who are not to be put off to the side but be put in the center and highlighted for their uniqueness and the gifts, talents, personalities and friendships along with the joys and struggles that they bring to us and we share with them during this Day of Sharing.”

Fr. Neneman added, “All are welcome, and all are winners.”

For more information of the Orange County Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, go to: https://ockc.net/