Dayton church offers sweet treat to help disabled children |

Dayton church offers sweet treat to help disabled children

Karel Ancona-Henry
For the Appeal

Knights of Columbus from St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Dayton hosted its annual Tootsie Roll Drive to benefit those with physical disabilities Saturday and Sunday.

“We do this two days every year and give our proceeds to Eagle Valley Children’s Home and Special Olympics,” said Vince Lonero, event chairman.

Planning for the event begins a year in advance with Tootsie Rolls ordered one month ahead. Volunteers are asked to work in shifts, handing out the sweet treats.

This year, they set up in front of Smith’s, and shoppers were given a Tootsie Roll. All money is by donation.

“Last year we raised $300, and we hope to hit that or more this year,” Lonero said.

The Knights of Columbus help the community in a variety of ways. They help area senior citizens with everything from plumbing issues to fence-mending, building disabled ramps, tree trimming and yard cleanup, and recently restored one of the doors from St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church in Virginia City..

John Bachmeier, who’s been a Knight since 1957, does most of the maintenance around the church itself, but needed some assistance with the door.

For Steve Martin, a new recruit and recently retired, “It was time to do something for the community.”

“This is a great organization,” he said.

Local Knights are also participating in a diocese-sponsored program called, “God’s Children,” which teaches awareness about pedophiles and their behaviors.

“The church has many community functions, from summer picnics to pancake breakfasts and if there’s an event where there will be children present, we have at least one person there who is certified in this program,” Lonero explained.

Participants first attend a four-hour seminar and then take a series of tests. Once they pass to the satisfaction of the diocese, they are certified.

“It teaches us awareness and what to watch for in what a (pedophile) does and all the kinds of ways they get (the confidence of and access to) children,” Lonero said. “It is a way that we can do our part to keep our children safe.”

St. Anne’s has grown to some 350 parishioners, with nearly 80 percent of the congregation being Hispanic, Lonero said.

“We have had a good showing, and the Knights are growing, too,” he said.

To be a Knight, one must be a parishioner.

For information about the group’s work or the organization, call Lonero at 246-5928 or Bachmeier at 246-4641.

• Karel Ancona-Henry can be reached at or at 246-4000.