Catholic Charities USA gives $2 million for hurricane relief

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Charities


ANTONIO (CNS) — Catholic Charities USA presented a $2 million check Sept. 4 representing
donations received to date for immediate emergency assistance for those
impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its catastrophic flooding.

hundred percent of the funds raised will go directly to immediate and
long-term recovery efforts.

the presentation was Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of
Catholic Charities USA, accompanied by Archbishop
Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of the
neighboring Diocese of Victoria, J. Antonio Fernandez, president and CEO of
Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Charities USA’s Mobile Response Center vehicle, filled with emergency supplies,
left Catholic Charities headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, for Texas and
will remain there to assist Catholic Charities agencies with response efforts.

Catholic Charities agencies have been hard at work in recovery efforts, trying
to address difficulties as they arise.

Houston, which has received the lion’s share of attention, there have been huge
problems finding temporary housing. Apartments are flooded and hotels are not
accepting payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. On top
of that, the city is getting ready to shut down shelters.

Victoria, relief efforts are just getting started, as Catholic Charities is trying
to find a building to convert into a distribution center. Cleaning supplies are
still needed to cope with the aftermath of flooding.

most volunteers want to go to southeast Texas, which suffered significant
damage, five counties in the Diocese of Austin were also hit by Harvey. Catholic
Charities personnel have gone door-to-door to hotels in Bryan and College
Station trying to find displaced people, then connecting them to United Way, as
hotels in the area are full due to the college football season. Some businesses are
offering paid time off for their employees to go to impacted areas and do volunteer

In Corpus Christi, Catholic
Charities USA workers are on the ground with people and resources. The biggest
challenges they face include trying to find places to store donated supplies and relocating residents with no affordable housing available.

Trucks are a big issue in Beaumont
and San Antonio. In Beaumont, six 18-wheelers arrived fully loaded with donations, and up to
100 volunteers stayed until 2 a.m. on Sept. 5 to unload them.

water supply has remained sketchy since the storm. Water service has not been restored to all areas
and those who do have water must boil it first. With flooding still an issue,
supply routes change daily and Catholic Charities faces the challenge of
getting donations to the right places. They are also setting up food
service for volunteers and survivors and looking for vehicles to deliver
donations to outlying areas. 


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