The Perryville Knights of Columbus Council No. 1263’s 50th annual Tootsie Roll Drive treated donors with the small chocolate candies but had a much larger treat for the whole community, particularly for Lucas Fritsche.
“Every year, the Knights of Columbus both in Missouri and in Illinois raise funds for the developmentally disabled,” said Tootsie Roll Drive Chairman and Knights of Columbus Membership Director Tom Zarlingo. “Our local goal was $5,000. We had our best year this year.”
In total, the Tootsie Roll Drive raised $8,597 in 2022 for the developmentally disabled. The Knights of Columbus decided to give to the construction of an all-inclusive playground in Perryville. In total, the Knights of Columbus donated $3,680 of the Tootsie Roll Drive’s proceeds for Fritsche to use toward funding his playground. The proceeds will go towards the second phase of the Lucas and Friends Backyard Adventure.
The Knights of Columbus has donated money to the playground project for the last five years, which has totaled $15,256. This is the second year the money will go to Phase two of the project. The completed phase included a huge ramping structure, tree house and musical equipment. The project took $500,000 to complete through donations and various fundraising efforts. The playground officially opened Oct. 6, 2021.
Phase one is not the end of the project as the next portion is already in progress, but still in the planning stages. The next step will include swings and other features. A site plan can be viewed at the park now. The project is awaiting approval of a recently submitted grant proposal.
“It was approved at our membership meeting to give some of the funds this year to the Lucas and Friends Backyard Adventures Playground at the Robert J. Miget Memorial Park,” Zarlingo said. “The Knights of Columbus saw the playground.”
The Knights of Columbus saw this all-inclusive playground as a worthy cause that could benefit the community, particularly those with disabilities.