By Caroline Ahearn, News Editor
Photo courtesy of TIME.com
In response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Office of the College Chaplains coordinated a collective relief effort on behalf of the College of the Holy Cross. Hurricane Harvey reached Texas on August 25 and lasted through September 3, making it the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. The rainfall and resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.
In an effort to aid those affected by the devastation, Marybeth Kearns-Barrett, Director of the Chaplain’s Office, reached out to the Holy Cross community to collect funds to be donated to two organizations, Cristo Rey Jesuit Preparatory School in Houston and Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston. Donations were collected at Campion House, Human Resources, chapel liturgies and by the student groups SHAPE and Multicultural Peer Educators from September 1-7. Together, Holy Cross raised $2,470 that will be used to help low-income, refugee, and immigrant residents of the Houston area.
Just one week after Harvey, Hurricane Irma made landfall on mainland United States and became the first major hurricane to hit Florida in 12 years. The storm caused the largest evacuation in Florida’s history and hundreds of thousands fled the area after seeing the destruction caused by Harvey in Texas. So far, Irma has caused 32 deaths, as well as major damage to buildings, boats, roads and electricity, sanitation, and water supplies.
In response to this second tragedy, the Chaplains’ Office is coordinating another round of donations to benefit Irma victims. The goal is to raise as much money as was raised for Harvey victims, and the Office will look for similar charities to benefit from the donations.
According to Andrea Grant, Administrative Coordinator for Chaplains’ Office, one of the motivators for organizing the relief effort was to show support for Holy Cross students who were affected by the storms in some way, whether they are from the areas most affected or have family in the region. In addition to raising money, Marybeth Kearns-Barrett invited students from the Houston area to Campion House for a dinner, and plans to do the same for students from Florida.
The Chaplains’ Office will continue collecting donations for Irma relief through Friday September 22, but is happy to accept and coordinate donations after that date as well.