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Knights of Columbus give the gift of warmth to kids across CT

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NEW BRITAIN -- In the midst of the Black Friday craze, the Knights of Columbus made the holiday season a warmer one for hundreds of children across Connecticut with their 5th annual winter coat distribution.

The coats were all bought by the Knights of Columbus at a discounted price. They then teamed up with local churches to hand them out to families in seven different communities. The distribution went on throughout the morning in New Britain, Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, New London, Taftville, and Brooklyn.

In New Britain alone more than 400 coats were given away by roughly 40 volunteers. The distribution took place at the St. Joseph School. Families there lined up all morning long to receive a free coat and a handmade winter hat.

The nearly 800 hats were all knitted by one of the St. Joseph church community’s volunteers.

Frank Emanuel Jr., of the local Knight’s of Columbus, helped organize and run the New Britain distribution event. He said the woman who makes all the hats starts on Black Friday and works all year long to be ready for next year.

“We’re just blessed being able to come here and get help,” Chris D’Amore, of East Hartford, said. He and his wife were counting their blessings Friday as all six of their children will now be winter ready this year.

“I had a great job in the construction industry and job injured and went back to school and wasn’t able to finish,” D’Amore said, describing the financial hardship his family has faced in recent years,“I’ve been underemployed for several years and finally just got a job this year to get back on our feet hopefully,” he added.

Volunteers handing out the coats Friday told FOX61 it’s the feeling of hope that keeps them motivated to be a part of the event year after year.

“A lot of these kids come in with a coat not even on so it’s very heartbreaking as a parent when you see a child walking in with nothing. Their walking out with a coat on,” Emanual explained.

Last year the Knights distributed 2,880 coats statewide.