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Cahaba Center receives donation from Knights of Columbus

It’s not everyday the Cahaba Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation gets a four-digit check. Wednesday just happened to be the day.

Patricia Martin, executive director of the Cahaba Center, received a check for $2,640 from the Knights of Columbus Wednesday morning. The money will be used for the Special Olympics.

“We’re a non-profit organization,” Martin said. “We need the funds to support our programs.”

The Special Olympics occurs annually on the local, regional and state levels. Participants compete in track and field and basketball.

Corey Bowie, Grand Knight of the Knights, said his organization has donated funds to the Cahaba Center for the past 25 years. “We’re in partnership with the Cahaba Center,” Bowie said. “One of our top priorities is to present this check to help with the Special Olympics.”

The local event is scheduled for March. The regional event follows in April and the state level in May.

In order to get to the various events, though, the Cahaba Center needs transportation. The center has more than 50 vans used for transporting clients to its programs. Each van costs more than $30,000. Funds for the vans come from the federal government, but in order to get those grants, Martin must receive local, matching grants.

Enter the Knights once again. Money received from the Knights enables Martin to get 80 percent of the necessary funds to purchase the center’s vans.

One Special Olympian, Billy Barrett, was thankful for the Knight’s donation. “We have a fun time, and we want to thank the people for supporting us,” he said.

The Cahaba Center has existed for 30 years. It serves more than 4,000 clients in Dallas, Wilcox and Perry Counties. Services provided include outpatient, residential care and case management for mental illness, outpatient and adolescent programs for substance abuse as well as day services and case management for mental retardation.