Crafting Crosses for Charity

Posted on June 29, 2022 in: General News

Crafting Crosses for Charity

St. Augustine’s Council 15192 utilizes member’s talent with stained glass to fundraise for local food bank

A Knight in New City, N.Y., used his talent for making crafts out of stained glass to help his council feed families in need.

Brainstorming ways to engage with and serve the community, members of St. Augustine’s Council 15192 in New City decided to provide much-needed support for the Rockland County Catholic Charities Food Pantry.

“The demand in Rockland County has been very high, not only at the Catholic Charities Food Pantry, but at other food pantries, which are constantly running out of money,” said Grand Knight Charles Gardella. “There’s a tremendous need for food. There are a lot of people who are down and out.”

Larry Abbamonte, a member of Council 15192 and a district deputy, offered to craft stained-glass crosses to distribute and collected donations from parishioners at St. Augustine Catholic Church. Working with stained glass is a skill that the former computer technician picked up in retirement.

About seven years ago, Abbamonte began saving broken stained-glass pieces from discarded church windows brought to his attention by a friend. He then took courses at a local community center to learn how to artistically work with the glass. Over time, he has crafted a lampshade, jewelry boxes and suncatchers for family members, and even a Fourth Degree emblem for Msgr. Joseph P. LaMorte, vicar general and chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York.

“When I first did it, it was a hobby,” Abbamonte said. “I just wanted to get my artistic juices flowing. But as I did more and more, it became something bigger.”

Abbamonte initially expected to make about 25 crosses, but the demand far exceeded his expectations. In total, he made more than 60 9-inch crosses, each with the same design, using glass from the discarded windows and additional glass he purchased. Abbamonte’s brother Knights sold the crosses after Masses at St. Augustine Church, raising $2,000 for the Rockland County Catholic Charities Food Pantry.

The effort helped galvanize Council 15192 as pandemic restrictions eased and allowed the Knights to take on more projects. For Abbamonte, it was gratifying that his talent could help families get food on the table.

“When we went there, they said all of the shelves were empty the week before. That’s how great the need was to restock the shelves,” Abbamonte said. “It just warms the heart, and it felt so nice to be able to present that check to the food bank.”

Learn more about the Knights of Columbus.