What Can We Do to Help?
September 10, 2017
This past week people everywhere were shocked and saddened by the horrific situations that have occurred and are occurring in Houston, and then in the Caribbean, and now in Florida, as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
As we watch the events unfold on the television news, it is hard to imagine the intense suffering that literally hundreds of thousands of people are enduring. I am not going to go into any examples of this disaster because you have been hearing one story after another all week long. Furthermore there is yet another Hurricane, Jose, not far behind Irma.
However, there are three observations I would like to make:
1. Many people have been calling to ask what they can do. Last week we took up a second collection for recovery efforts in Houston and surrounding areas, which amounted to $3,742.92. That was incredible since that collection was not announced ahead of time. We will take up a second collection today as well for recovery in Houston as we announced last weekend. The money goes to Catholic Charities at the Diocese of Youngstown where it will be combined with other collections from other churches in the Diocese. They will send one check to Catholic Charities USA.
We will be taking up more collections in the future to help the people of Florida in their recovery efforts as well.
The number one need right now is money. In fact Catholic Charities and most other charities are NOT accepting anything but money, as getting other supplies such as food, clothing, blankets, and other relief supplies into the affected areas is so difficult. Furthermore such donations have to be sorted and shipped and there is no time to do that. So money is what is needed. This money can also be circulated back into the local economy of those affected. If you write a check make it payable to St. Michael, and then we in turn will write a one large check to Catholic Charities. This of course will be tax deductible.
By the way, please heed the warning about donating to charities that may be fraudulent. It is best to stay with the large well established and well known charities such as Catholic Charities. Putting money in our collection basket is the surest and safest was to donate. I can guarantee you that the money will go to where it should.
2. We need to pray for these people. Jesus tells us in the Gospel today: “AGAIN, AMEN, I SAY TO YOU, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly father. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
So pray, prayer is very important. But prayer is not enough, we need to act, we need to do something. There is an old saying that goes like this: “Put feet and legs on those prayers”. So when we are finished with our prayers, make a monetary donation. And I can assure you through Catholic Charities your money will be used for what it is intended.
3. Because of this disaster, Houston and much of the Gulf coast region, and just about all of Florida, now exist under Third World conditions. Keep in mind people in the third world live like that every day. The People of Haiti live like that every day. No infrastructure, very little food, no clean drinking water, money, electricity, accessibility. It is just a way of life in the Third World.
And so, in conclusion, we will take a second collection today and next week as well. Please be generous.
Do not feel pressured. Maybe you already gave; maybe you can’t give at this time. That’s all OK.
You can still pray for everyone affected. This is about the best we can do for our siblings on the Gulf Coast.
Thank you for your help in this very serious crisis. Amen.
Fr. Terry Hazel