Catholic Charities disaster assistance grants increase in 2011

Volunteers work to repair a levee that protects the Church of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in Minot, N.D., as floodwater from the Souris River spills over levees and dikes June 25. (CNS/Reuters)

Natural disasters in the form of tornadoes and flooding have hit many regions of the U.S. since January. The damage has been so extensive  that Catholic Charities USA has provided almost as many disaster assistance grants through the first six months of the year as in all of 2010.

Since January the agency has provided 36 $10,000 grants to diocesan Catholic Charities programs, providing assistance to people who have  lost their homes in spring storms or had to evacuate in advance of flooding.

In 2010, the agency provided 46 grants to local Catholic Charities agencies in response to disasters.

Kathleen Rae King, senior vice president for external relations, said the agency has collected more than $1 million for disaster assistance, but more money is needed to meet the widespread need.

“Once the immediate needs of the Minot residents are met, with all the rebuilding that will be needed, it will require ongoing support,”  King told Catholic News Service. “It’s where Catholic Charities comes in because we’re in there for the long-haul. We’re gearing up for the need to help families put their lives back together.”

Catholic Charities work continues in North Dakota as floods from melting snows and heavy rainfall continue to affect the  city of Minot. Catholic Charities staff members also remain in several Alabama communities and in Joplin, Mo., areas hit by violent tornadoes in the spring.

Contributions can be made through the agency’s website.

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