By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
People in the Archdiocese of Louisville are coming together to help victims of Hurricane Harvey put the pieces of their lives back together.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, last week, called on parishes across the nation to take up a special collection for victims of the category four hurricane, which left death and destruction in southeast Texas.
Churches in the Archdiocese of Louisville took up that collection over the Labor Day weekend and some will do so over the weekend of Sept. 10.
Meanwhile, Water With Blessings — a local non-profit organization that provides water filters to families in developing nations — is working to get water filters into the hands of those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Ursuline Sister of Mount St. Joseph Larraine Lauter, who leads Water With Blessings, said in a statement that hurricane survivors who are facing “dwindling supplies of drinking water are among the most threatened.”
“Dirty water brings disease and death long after the more dramatic storm coverage has passed,” she said.
Water With Blessings has shipped close to 5,000 water filters since the storm hit, she said. “In any catastrophe, ultimately more people usually die later because of dirty water,” said Sister Lauter during an interview Sept. 5.
She said Sawyer Products — the manufacturer of the water filters — is donating 10,000 filters for Water With Blessings to send to survivors of Hurricane Harvey. The organization is now seeking monetary donations in order to ship those 10,000 filters and to purchase buckets, which are part of the water delivery system developed by Water With Blessings.
Water With Blessings is partnering with churches and organizations in and near the affected areas to get the filters to those in need. Closer to home, the organization is also reaching out to its partners to move the filters along.
Sister Lauter said donations can be made at waterwithblessings.org or sent to Water With Blessings, 11714 Main St., Ste. D., Middletown, Ky., 40243. For more information, call 749-5492.
The Little Sisters of the Poor provided a truck to transport 1,200 filters to Titan Contracting in Owensboro, Ky., said Sister Lauter. Titan Contracting will transport the filters to the hurricane affected areas on a semi-trailer. Volunteers also helped assemble the filters over the Labor Day weekend, said Sister Lauter.
In other efforts, individual parishioners have also been moved to help those in need. Steve Ridgley, a member of St. Albert the Great Church, said he was moved to act when he realized some people had lost everything in the hurricane.
“I’d hate to think of what it would be like to start over at my age,” said Ridgley. “It would be a daunting task.”
He wanted to do something to help, so he contacted Catholic Charities of Louisville to find out how to get aid to Texas, he said. Then he started knocking on the doors of local individuals and businesses asking for donations, he said.
In a matter of days, he’d collected $2,600. He also secured two tractor trailers in which to transport items to the affected areas. Ridgley said that in times like these, people “just want to open their hearts” to help others.
The money will be used to purchase gallons of water and baby formula. Those wishing to make a monetary donation can send it to Catholic Charities of Louisville, ATTN: Local Hurricane Harvey Relief, 2911 South 4th St., Louisville, Ky., 40208.
Ridgley said it may take two more weeks to gather donations, purchase the items and arrange for the shipment.
Ridgley said the trucks will transport items donated by local schools. Members of St. Nicholas Academy’s third- and fourth-grade football team have collected diapers and wipes, students at
Meyzeek Middle School have collected school supplies and Fern Creek Elementary School has collected water and T-shirts.