The real common thread throughout the Knights of Pythias involves our commitment to help people; when asked what we do, we answer quite simply: We volunteer! We help people! This common thread shows itself in everything Pythians do.
We support many charitable institutions, financially and by volunteering, including:
The Knights of Pythias Humanitarian Fund is the main fund-raising committee of the New York Grand Lodge. The Humanitarian Fund raises funds chiefly through raffles, solicitation of donations and an annual fundraising Brunch to supplement and benefit the NY Grand Lodge work in support of humanitarian, community-service and charitable organizations. The Humanitarian Fund distributes about $35,000 annually to Pythian charities, including Servicemen and Veteran's Committee, Camp Sunrise, Pythian Camp, Double H Hole in the Wall Camp, Diabetes Research Association and the Pythian Scholarship. Find some of these described below.
Diabetes Research Association
Awareness of Diabetes remains a major concern of Pythians. Grand Lodge established the Diabetes Research Association in 1997 to help fund research to find a cure. The Pythian DRA has become the largest single fundraising committee in the Grand Lodge. It supports the nationally recognized Diabetes Research Foundation as well as the American Diabetes Association. Through fundraising events like local golf tournaments, table at street fairs, sale of merchandise, the Pythian DRA has been able to raise and donate over $500,000 to diabetes research groups since its inception.
Pythian Camp has a long tradition of sending underprivileged children to summer camp. The Pythian Camp fund was started and incorporated in 1942. Though the physical camp was sold in 1992, the proceeds of the sale allowed the NY State Pythians to set up a foundation which has funded camp tuition for thousands of boys and girls. Each year the Pythian camp sends about 100 children to a camp that they would not ordinarily have access to. These camps, located in New York and New Jersey, are operated by state and private agencies specifically for children from underprivileged homes or with specific medical or social or special needs. Interested parties should contact their local lodge or the Grand Lodge.
Servicemen and Women and Veterans Committee
The Servicemen and Veterans Committee was originally set up to provide support and visitations to VA hospitals where simple gifts and good cheer would bring comfort to injured -- many permanently disabled -- members of our armed forces. At a recent visitation to the Castlepoint VA Hospital in Beacon, NY, Pythians donated coffee makers and set up a social room for permanently disabled vets who live on premises.
American Cancer Society, the National Charity of the Knights of Pythias
As Supreme Lodge states on its website, the Knights of Pythias proudly supports many local charities across the nation and around the world. Supreme Lodge selected and Grand Lodge of New York supports the American Cancer Society as the National Charity of the Order Knights of Pythias. The nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, the American Cancer Society supports research, education, advocacy and service.
Dr. Morris Smoller, Social Service Fund
The Morris Smoller Social Service fund, established in memory of Dr. Morris Smoller, had its beginning in 1983 and benefits NYS Pythians and their families. The Smoller fund has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities with short and long term rehab and hospices located in New York and Florida. These contributions have paved the way for access to these care centers more accessible for the families of Pythians throughout New York.
Drug and Substance Abuse Programs
Substance abuse has been a crisis for many families. Recognizing the need, the New York Knights of Pythias has supported rehabilitation programs, regionally. These include Day Top Village, Renaissance Project and Samaritan Village. Our donations have helped these most worthy organizations to continue their good work. In addition it has benefited Pythian families when assistance was needed. The cry for help at Day Top Village, Renaissance Project or Samaritan Village was always answered with "You're welcome here".
Knights on Wheels
Regional community service projects conducted by New York Pythians include the Knights on Wheels. Started in 1997, this annual event brings together physically and mentally challenged adults -- many in wheel chairs -- for a day of outdoor fun in Rockland county. The Pythian lodges across the lower Hudson Valley region come out to host 250 to 300 "clients" from adult and supervised living units around Rockland and Westchester counties. The day is filled with games and a barbeque. Our aim is to bring some happiness to as many people as we can and by the smiles on the faces of those participating, it's a success.
Read about one of our recent efforts and view pictures of the latest event.
New Eyes for the Needy and Hearing Aids
This committee has collected tens of thousands of used eye glasses and hearing aids. These eyeglasses and hearing are refurbished and given to people in need. This fine program has helped many people to see and hear again.
Coat for Kids/ Those in Need
As the cold winter approaches and many children and adults find themselves without warm clothing, the Pythians come to their aid. In late autumn, Pythians around New York scour their neighborhoods for unused unwanted winter coats and visit dry cleaning establishments to collect abandoned winter wear. The coats are brought to collection points allover the NY metro area and distributed to needy people. The Knights of Pythias Coats of Kids program has collected over 10,000 coats over the past ten years. These donated coats are collected and delivered to needy people and organizations by Pythians.
Read about our most recent effort.
Pythian Youth Programs
Through the Pythian Youth Commission, the Grand Lodge runs youth programs offering middle school age and high school age children a number of opportunities to compete and achieve, including poster and essay contests. The Youth Commission also distributes the Pythian Scholarships to Sons and Daughters of Pythians graduating high school and going onto college.
Other Local and National Organizations
As an order based on Friendship, Charity and Benevolence, local Pythian lodges are involved across their communities. Many lodges have sponsor annual walks to support the American Cancer Society. The New York State Special Olympics is supported by Pythian Brothers and Sisters with donations and manpower by helping to run events for these challenged athletes. In addition, the Pythian Boy Scout Connection works with local Boy Scout Troops to recognize newly created Eagle Scouts.
The Grand Lodge welcomes inquiries from individuals who would like to join us in serving our local communities and benefiting those individuals and organizations in need.