It’s a Brick Township summer tradition that has been taking place for 32 years, and Wednesday’s activities at Brick Township High School were no exception.
For more than three decades, volunteers with Knights of Columbus Council #8160 have raised thousands of dollars each year, relying on fundraisers and community donations, to provide some extra summer fun for special needs students in the Brick school district’s Base Camp summer program.
On Wednesday morning, students were treated to a pizza party to wrap up the season, but over the course of the summer, the Knights have provided bowling days at Ocean Lanes, a Special Olympics-like field day and trophies and awards for the kids, given out by the mayor and local officials. They also provided snacks and juice for the entire length of the program and sponsored a performance by a live band who members were all part of the special needs program when they were growing up.
“Thirty year ago, the program was called Camp Beadleston, and we thought we should get involved with the community to see how we could help,” said John Crosio, a Herbertsville resident who has run the volunteer effort for the Knights for years. “These are the kinds of things we love to, we’re supposed to do, and we really enjoy it.”
Knights of Columbus, in years past, were easily recognizable each spring collecting donations outside of supermarkets around town. But with the closure of Pathmark and A&P, as well as policies from some stores that eliminated the practice, money has gotten tight in recent years – just as the program expanded. Crosio said Walmart has continued to allow collections, and the council has started an annual golf tournament and last year created a GoFundMe page to crowd-fund donations from the community.
“Our members Joe Landicino and Frank Dooley did 99 percent of the work on the tournament, and without it, we’d be in the hole,” said Crosio.
This year the Knights of Columbus council, based at Epiphany Catholic church on Thiele Road, served over 350 children throughout the summer.