‘Least Among My Brethren’ spurs funding for children with intellectual disabilities

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 ‘Least Among My Brethren’ spurs funding for children with intellectual disabilities.

‘Least Among My Brethren’ spurs funding for children with intellectual disabilities.

ELIZABETH CITY – Operation LAMB’s story starts in 1960 at a local Knights of Columbus Council where William “Bill” Scott was a member. Bill and his wife Maureen, had two children with intellectual disabilities and experienced firsthand the desperate need to help fund facilities and organizations that care for, educate and support people like their children.

Bills idea grew, and by 1974 he enlisted the help of fellow state officers to present his program to the local Knights of Columbus councils across North Carolina. The idea was simple: In each local counsel, funds collected on an entirely volunteer basis would go directly where it’s most needed: Institutions that care for people with intellectual disabilities.


The program was unanimously approved and adopted, with Knights of Columbus across the state donning iconic yellow aprons and handing out Tootsie Rolls while raising money for Operation LAMB — an acronym derived from the Biblical phrase in Matthew to serve the “Least Among My Brethren.” Today, North Carolina has 130 councils with more than 16,000 members who take to streets and storefronts at various times throughout the year, offering Tootsie Rolls to passers-by for voluntary donations.

Turning roles of chewy chocolates into a financial boom for organizations that serve the mentally retarded is a wonderful story. Those treats bring in nearly $2 million profit annually in Illinois — the home base for the creation of this giant fund raising process run by the Knights of Columbus.

Recently in Elizabeth City, there have been donations provided in various sums, but one thing is certain whether it is a small contribution or a large contribution — such as the $50 check that was donated this past weekend — it is safe to say that the members of the Knights organization and the citizens of the area all derive a great deal more from this program than anyone would expect.

All volunteers feel that they are doing the work of God, in keeping with the name of the project; Least Among My Brethren.