Local Catholics help with immediate, long-term needs after disasters

Streets and homes damaged during Hurricane Sandy are seen Nov. 10 in Ortley Beach, N.J. After the hurricane made landfall Oct. 29 in New Jersey, that state as well as New York City, and Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island were among the areas hit the hardest. (CNS photo/Tim Larsen, governor's office handout  via Reuters) (Nov. 12, 2012) Editors: for editorial use only.
Streets and homes damaged during Hurricane Sandy are seen Nov. 10 in Ortley Beach, N.J. After the hurricane made landfall Oct. 29 in New Jersey, that state as well as New York City, and Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island were among the areas hit the hardest. (CNS photo/Tim Larsen, governor’s office handout via Reuters) (Nov. 12, 2012) Editors: for editorial use only.

by Jessica Langdon
jessica@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When the call comes to help people affected by disaster, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas respond generously.

To date, the archdiocese has collected $86,084.15 for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

When the powerful storm developed in late October 2012, it first struck a number of nations outside the United States, including several in the Caribbean, before moving north and devastating states along the East Coast.

New Jersey and New York were among the states hardest hit.

Parishes nationwide — including those within the archdiocese — took up special collections soon after the hurricane hit.

Catholic Charities USA is handling the funds to help victims of the storm in the eastern United States.

Catholic Relief Services has been helping those in other countries.

Sandy delivered a powerful blow to Haiti, where more than 50 people died and homes and crops were lost.

It was the second major natural disaster to hit Haiti within three years. An earthquake in January 2010 resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and widespread devastation.

The archdiocese reached out to help then, as well.

Parishes took up a collection for Haiti in January 2010, and, to date, the archdiocese has collected $611,660.23.

Nationwide, after a call from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help Haiti that same January, Catholics gave more than $85 million to the cause in one weekend.

CRS received 60 percent of those funds for humanitarian work, including proving food, water, medical help and temporary housing, according to the USCCB.

The USCCB decided the other 40 percent would help fund reconstruction of the infrastructure of the Catholic Church in Haiti.

The bishops in the United States have partnered with the church in Haiti and in many other parts of the world on those efforts to rebuild in such a way as to withstand future disasters.

The collaboration resulted in the Partnership for Church Reconstruction, and its construction unit began operating in late 2011. Since then, more than 100 project applications have been submitted.

The USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America has approved more than $10 million in grants to fund 15 projects, with more than 90 percent of those awards granted in 2012.

Some of the construction unit’s projects, such as the reconstructed St. Francis of Assisi Church in Grand Goave, are almost complete, while others, such as Sacré-Coeur Church in Port-au-Prince, are in the design stage.

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