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Knights of Columbus '40 Bucks for Lent' Campaign to Help Persecuted Middle Eastern Christians

Contact: Andrew Walther, 203-824-5412, andrew.walther@kofc.org; Joseph Cullen, 203-415-9314, joseph.cullen@kofc.org; both with Knights of Columbus

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 9, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Knights of Columbus is asking those considering a Lenten sacrifice to give "40 Bucks for Lent" and use the hashtag #40BucksForLent to help Middle Eastern Christians and other religious minorities suffering religious persecution there.

"Since many people give up something for Lent, we wanted to provide an opportunity for their sacrifice to make a difference — not only in their own life, but in the lives of others," said K of C Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "During the Lenten season, we recall Christ's suffering and death. In turn, remembering and assisting those who are today suffering and dying for their belief in Christ is an excellent way to do good where it is most needed and to enter more deeply into the spirit of this season."

The Knights began its Christian Refugee Relief Fund in 2014. To date nearly $10 million has been raised to provide housing, food, medical aid, education and general relief to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities especially from Iraq and Syria, and to raise awareness about their plight. Those persecuted have suffered enormously at the hands of terrorists, who target them simply for their faith. Lives have been turned upside down, friends and families killed, and homes seized. Last fall, the Knights also brought a young Iraqi girl to the United States with her mother, so she could receive specialized medical care.

In addition to raising funds, the Knights of Columbus has brought assistance to these Christians and other persecuted religious minorities while also working to raise awareness of their situation via television commercials and news stories. Last fall, the Knights sponsored a young Iraqi girl to receive specialized medical care in the United States. More recently, Supreme Knight Anderson testified on Capitol Hill and signed a letter to the State Department with a number of religious leaders, scholars and other experts asking the U.S. government to declare the systematic destruction and persecution of Middle Eastern Christians as genocide.

These donations can be made to the Christian Refugee Relief Fund at christiansatrisk.org, or by sending checks or money orders (payable to "Knights of Columbus Charities") to P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966. The memo portion should indicate that the check is for "Christian Refugee Relief."

No administrative fees are taken from the funds donated, so 100% of all donations directly supports humanitarian assistance and efforts to raise awareness of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, especially in the Middle East. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization, with nearly 1.9 million members worldwide, and it is one of the most active charitable organizations in the United States. The Knights set a new record for charitable giving in its last fraternal year with donations of more than $173.5 million and 71.5 million hours of service to charitable causes, much of it raised and donated by its more than 15,000 councils.