Sudbury's Knights of Columbus councils went well above and beyond for Maison McCulloch Hospice, presenting a cheque for $171,000 on Feb. 25.
The funds will be used to support an addition at the hospice that will add 10 more beds at the city's end-of-life care facility.
In May of 2018, the Knights of Columbus from all councils joined together and made a commitment to raise $100,000 over five years. That number was nearly doubled and was accomplished in less than half the time.
"This was the first time that all of the councils got together, so we didn't really know how it was going to go," said Pierre Beaumier, vice-chair of the KOC Unity Project committee.
"There were 18 councils participating in this project and everyone played their role in their own capacity."
The committee leading the unity project set up a cash draw calendar where people who purchased the calendars for $20 would have a chance to win money every day of the year. Last February, the Knights gave the hospice $55,000, while encouraging all local councils to add to the amount individually.
By December of 2019, the councils had collectively raised $98,000, and with the 2020 calendar sales raised an additional $60,000. In total, the Knights of Columbus raised $171,000 for the hospice in just two years.
"It really knocked us off our heels," said Beaumier. "Our engagement was $100,000 and we were hoping not to have to take five years, but it's just super that we were able to do it in two years."
The Unity Project committee had tossed around a couple of ideas to raise money, including chase the ace and a few other ideas before landing on the calendar, which turned into a large community effort.
Sponsors placed ads in the calendar to help offset printing costs, and thousands of calendars were sold.
"We really want to thank everybody because this isn't a one person thing, it's a community that made this happen and we really want to thank everyone who helped make this a success," said Beaumier.
Hospice Foundation board chair Gerry Lougheed Jr. attended the cheque presentation on Feb. 25 at Ste. Anne-des-Pins church, and commended the Knights of Columbus on their hard work.
"Certainly they have a passion for helping other people and fulfilling their mandate, and doing it in two years and nearly doubling their commitment," said Lougheed.
"It's interesting because the Knights of Columbus motto, going back to 1889 is 'tempus fugit memento mori' which says 'time flies, remember death' and in terms of that motto it certainly applies to hospice experience in that our lives fly by and at the hospice we do remember death and tonight the knights are fulfilling those words with these good works."
The funding will contribute to 10 more beds at Maison McCulloch Hospice, more space for the shared care team, appropriate furnishings and on top of everything, maintaining the high level of care that has become their standard.
"We are maintaining the gold standard of hospice care in our community and likely the gold standard of hospice care for our whole country," said Lougheed.
"I think everyone understands that unfortunately we can't cure everyone, but we can care for everyone and I think the Knights of Columbus are helping make sure that we can care for everyone."
With their commitment to Maison McCulloch Hospice completed, the Knights of Columbus are currently in talks with NEO Kids for their next fundraising initiative.