Cinco de Mayo Open House

St. Louis Center welcomes Knights of Columbus Councils and their families to a day of thanks, fun, and discovery on Sunday, May 5th.

One Small Tootsie Roll, One Big Impact

Al, Lisa, Ken - Tootsie Roll Smiles

Al, Lisa, Ken Tootsie Roll Campaign

St. Louis Center wishes to thank the Knights of Columbus for their ongoing support through the Tootsie Roll Drive. Over the years, St. Louis Center has benefited greatly from the Tootsie Roll Drive, which has been an integral part of making the Center a home for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). In 2021 alone, the Center received over $59,000 from the Tootsie Roll Drive donations, which continue to roll in.

These donations have directly impacted residents’ day-to-day care, new activities brought to St. Louis Center, existing programs, and the high standards necessary for the up-keep of the facility. We’ve received a large amount of support from the Knights of Columbus, and their efforts have contributed greatly to the Center’s goals and success since the beginning, through the Tootsie Roll Drive and through other generous donations. Residents and staff are grateful for all the ways the Knights continue to support St. Louis Center and its mission.

The time the Knights spend in their communities selling Tootsie Rolls is appreciated by all at St. Louis Center. With many of the residents relying on benevolent care, their commitment to the Tootsie Roll drive is of immense importance.


Look for your local Knights of Columbus Council standing outside grocery stores and businesses at the end of April and in October*. Make a donation and enjoy a tootsie roll with a smile!

*Check with the local Knights of Columbus Council in your community for the dates of the Tootsie Roll drive nearest to you.

When you donate to a Knight,
every Tootsie Roll makes someone happy!

A History of the Tootsie Roll Drive

The Knights of Columbus councils have been working hard for more than fifty years by taking donations for people with disabilities, then showing appreciation with a small tootsie roll!


What do you know about the Tootsie Roll Drive?
Lisa holding Tootsie Roll

The first Tootsie Roll Drive happened in Chicago in 1970 and raised a total of $30,000 in two days for people with I/DD! The program spread throughout the states. (KofC Council 6292 of Virginia, 2005)

The Michigan Knights of Columbus run one of the largest drives in the country! (Manchester Mirror, 2014)


While these Knights and their families are collecting donations around town, they are also helping to recognize the dignity of every person.

Gary Merrit, 2019

The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council in the 1800s to 15,900 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the world. (Merritt, 2019)
As of 2019, the state of Michigan had won the title of most money raised, 8 years in a row. That earned Michigan Knights of Columbus $10,000 extra to donate! (Merritt, 2019)

The first Tootsie Roll Drive for persons with I/DD was in 1970. (KofC Council 6292 of Virginia, 2005)

The drive, officially named the Campaign for Helping People with Intellectual Disabilities, is commonly referred to as the Tootsie Roll Drive because for every donation, each donor is offered a piece of candy by the Knight or family member present. It is one of the most popular and successful fundraisers conducted by Knights of Columbus local councils. (Merritt, 2019)

The Michigan K of C’s Tootsie Roll drive supports more than 800 organizations that benefit those with special needs! (Merritt, 2019)

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Your Tootsie Rolls at Work

These smiling faces benefit from Knights of Columbus councils’ strong efforts. The money St. Louis Center receives from these tootsie rolls directly impacts their everyday lives.

St. Louis Center must raise approximately $3.6 million dollars annually to run effectively. Donations from Knights of Columbus Councils’ Tootsie Roll Drives have helped the Center reach our goal on many occasions. These donations have directly impacted the day-to-day care of those who live at St. Louis Center, helping to bring new activities, maintain programs, and continue the high standard of facility up-keep.

Jordan holding Tootsie Roll
Lisa holding Tootsie Roll
Ken holding Tootsie Roll
Al holding Tootsie Roll

Making a Difference


For many years, St. Louis Center has been blessed by the many Knights of Columbus councils throughout the State of Michigan.

The Knights of Columbus have been steady supporters of the mission since the beginning. From donations of both money and time, to events and outings, these men put effort into making a difference in the lives of the people who call St. Louis Center home. Residents and staff are most grateful for all you’ve done and given to the Center.


There have been many ways they’ve contributed to the Center. Over the last 10 years, the Knights of Columbus have donated over $1.7 million to St. Louis Center. These donations have been for general operations, a well replacement, and the Knights of Columbus State Council provided money for a match last year, matching $100,000.

The Knights have also donated their time, hosting events, inviting Fr. Enzo and residents to baseball games, and volunteering at the Center.

Thank you for your continued support!

Knights of Columbus at St. Louis Center

Read more about what how the Knights are making a difference at the Center!

Knights of Columbus Information

Click on the links below to learn more about the Knights of Columbus mission and other resources.

St. Louis Center and Knights and Ladies of Columbus Memories

Take a look back at some of the moments shared between the Center and the Knights.

About St. Louis Center

St. Louis Center is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) residential community in Chelsea, MI for individuals with I/DD ages 18 and older.

St. Louis Center is licensed by the State of Michigan and accredited by CARF International, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services.

St. Louis Center serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in an intentional, faith-based community. St. Louis Center has evolved over the past 60 years (and counting) to meet the ever-changing needs of the individuals it serves.
SLC Fall Panorama

“To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us.” – Pope Francis