Council 16546 Wins State Service Award – 2nd Place – Community 2021-22


Council 16546 Wins Faith In Action Community Award Second Place 2021-22


We extend our congratulations to Council 16546 for winning the Faith In Action Community Award Second Place for the 2021-2022 fraternal year. The award was presented to Vinh Le, Grand Knight of the Garland council, at the Texas State Convention in Corpus Christie on April 30, 2022. Accompanying the GK was District Deputy Kevin Quinn and also present was Dallas Diocesan Deputy Mike Courtney.

Purpose and Goal of Program

The Goal of our “Hands in our Community – Home and Abroad” program is to provide comfort and sustenance for homeless and destitute by providing supplies and food for those in our ‘backyard’ be it in Texas or Viet Nam.

Whom does this program benefit

This program benefited homeless people in Dallas County, Texas and the people living in or near Saigon, Viet Nam.

What problem or need did this program resolve?

“Hands in our Community – Home and Abroad” addressed the problem homeless people face for basic shelter and comfort and the very real need to provide food for poor people who have been unable to work during the Covid pandemic.

Why did the council select this program?

In 2018 our Council began an annual sleeping bag drive for the homeless in our community.  It has grown with the support of the parishioners.  Because so many of our family still live in Vietnam we were also aware of the great food shortage being experienced because of the adverse effects Covid restrictions had on people’s ability to work and provide food for their families.  We decided to expand our community outreach to our physical community here and our heritage community.  We thought it would be appropriate to expand the program to people in our homeland because we are so blessed here and the pandemic seemed to impact them more.  They needed our assistance during this troubling time.

A successful program

The program was very successful. Our Pastor and Chaplain, Fr. Paul Nguyen, gave tremendous support to the project.  With his enthusiasm we were able to collect donations at Our Mother of Perpetual Help parish in Garland over three weekends.  Donations were supplies (sleeping bags, toothbrushes, blankets, socks, etc.) and $20,000 cash.

Our council is small, only thirty members.  However, twenty five percent of our members were able to participate directly in the project.  Not only did we collect for the homeless in Dallas County, we dedicated a Saturday to going to the homeless encampments and delivering directly to those in need.

Donations that were not able to be put directly in a person’s hands were given to Dallas Life Homeless Shelter, including games, hams, and two pallets of water.

The biggest challenge for sending food to Viet Nam was to find someone in Viet Nam and coordinate everything because of the time difference and not being there to see it through.  We found a great partner in Caritas whom we could rely on to deliver the rice to the people.

We were able to purchase and distribute over 44,000 pounds of rice.  A critical factor in the successful distribution was to work with Caritas to make sure the rice was distributed in ten pound bags.  The people receiving the rice had to walk for miles to get the rice and it had to be in small enough packaging they could carry it home.  We put food in the hands of thousands who have been deprived of rice and other essentials to survive.

Pictures of Homeless Sleeping Bag Drive and Distribution