Nearly five months since Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster on record to slam Dominica and Puerto Rico, two Diocese of Allentown offices are assisting in efforts for people who have relocated to the Diocese to recover their lives.
Catholic Charities (CC), Diocese of Allentown, which has received generous donations from the faithful and parishes, has been able to provide assistance to an estimated 50 families who have sought refuge or are unable to return to their homes in Puerto Rico.
Through special collections at parishes and private donations CC has provided rent assistance, gift cards for clothing and food, and household items and food from the agency’s food pantry that has seen an uptick in donations since the disaster.
While some of the victims fled their homes before the storm made landfall, other victims used all their financial resources to flee the island that is still suffering from the deadly storm.
As CC reaches out to hurricane victims, the Diocesan Office of Education is intensifying efforts to welcome hurricane victims and to keep educational needs of students on track at Diocesan schools.
In addition, the Diocesan Office of Education has extended tuition assistance to young people displaced by the hurricane, including three students at Holy Infancy School, Bethlehem and one student at St. John Vianney Regional School, Allentown.
Father Andrew Gehringer, pastor of Holy Infancy, said the school was honored to welcome three students to their school family.
“We are so happy to welcome these new children from Puerto Rico into our Holy Infancy School family. In such a difficult time after Hurricane Maria, we pray that being received into our family environment with many other children of Hispanic heritage, especially from Puerto Rico, will bring these and other new students the comfort of feeling at home,” said Father Gehringer.
*Article contributed by Tara Connolly, AD Times.