While it may no longer be in the news, victims of Hurricane Sandy are still struggling to recover in many of the communities hit by the October 29, 2012, storm. The deadly storm, which took the lives of a dozen people, caused massive destruction in heavily populated areas of New York and New Jersey.
A number of dioceses took special collections to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the hurricane. At the request of Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, parishes in the Diocese of Raleigh held second collections in November, with donations being forwarded to Catholic Charities USA, which will direct the money to impacted communities to help provide for both short-term and long-term recovery efforts in the communities. As of November 29, sixteen parishes and missions reported a total of $42,794 in donations. (Additional updates on Diocesan faithful contributions will be provided regularly, as they are received.)
Catholic Charities USA has been providing financial assistance and emergency supplies to storm victims shortly after the storm hit. An example is one small town that received a shipment of 480 boxes of food -- each box feeding a family of four for one week.
In the Diocese of Trenton, N.J., damage assessment continues while cleanup and repairs are well under way at more than 50 parishes and school facilities reporting damage from major structural and flooding, to missing roof shingles, broken windows and water damage. The Diocese's two shore counties -- Ocean and Monmouth -- suffered some of the worst devastation.
Hurricane Sandy hit all of the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, which lies east of New York City, but some communities, particularly those on the South Shore, were devastated by the swollen tides created by the storm.
Damage caused by Sandy has been estimated at $50 billion, though some reports put the figure at $60 billion.
Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, recently returned from a visit to New York and New Jersey. “I was touched by the acts of kindness and generosity I personally witnessed from staff, volunteers, and neighbors who just want to help those looking to put their lives back together,” Fr. Snyder said.
“I met dozens of staff at our local agencies who have been working every day since the storm first hit,” he continued. “They are tired, the stress level is high, but they know that they are part of a network of more than 65,000 employees, each willing to help in whatever way they can.”
Fr. Snyder noted that donations from parishioners across the country will do more than provide immediate emergency assistance. Funds will also be used for:
- Case management and emergency assistance, which includes immediate health/medical needs, food and water, shelter, clothing, critical child care and transportation;
- Cleaning and house repair assistance, which includes house “muck-outs,” debris removal, utility assistance, furniture and appliance replacement, home repairs, and complete home rebuilds;
- Emergency evacuation assistance, which includes relocation, safe housing, transportation, and temporary sheltering needs; and
- Long-term recovery needs, which include “big ticket” items that often times occur when reestablishing a home, such as roof replacements, hot water heater/air conditioner/furnace replacements, and complete home rebuilds.