By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
Parishes and schools around the Archdiocese of Louisville have rallied in the last week or so to collect donations and offer support for survivors of the March 2 tornadoes that struck Southern Indiana and Eastern Kentucky.
St. Xavier High School sent 50 volunteers to Henryville, Ind., last Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 8-10) to serve food to workers assisting with clean-up efforts.
Students, faculty and staff also have raised $9,500, which the school donated to Hand in Hand Ministries for clean-up and rebuilding efforts in Eastern Kentucky.
And the boys’ high school is one of about a dozen schools and parishes around the archdiocese that have reported their efforts to collect food and hygiene items to be distributed by Hand in Hand Ministries. The Louisville-based charity periodically is taking donations to Eastern Kentucky by the truckload.
St. Agnes, St. Bernard, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael parishes and St. Mary Academy and St. Xavier collected items that were picked up by Hand in Hand last Friday. The donations helped to fill a 26-foot truck taken to Auxier, Ky., on Saturday.
Libbey Smith, chief operating officer of Hand in Hand, said in an email to The Record: “It took volunteers almost three hours to unload it all. Our directors in Auxier were absolutely overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity. They were able to take food and water immediately to some of the families who were not receiving help from anyone.”
Some items donated to Hand in Hand are going to St. Luke Church in Salyersville, Ky., whose entire campus was destroyed by the tornadoes. The parish had Magoffin County’s only food and clothing pantry. Hand in Hand is helping St. Luke parishioners to continue that work by giving them donations to distribute.
Hand in Hand said that other Archdiocese of Louisville parishes and schools are still collecting items, including St. Martha, St. Francis Xavier in Mt. Washington, Ky., Mercy Academy and the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Ky.
Parishes in the archdiocese have been asked to take a special collection for tornado victims during Masses. Catholic Charities of Louis-ville will distribute the funds and is coordinating archdiocesan relief efforts.
Ascension School volunteer Jim Grider is helping to raise money to assist storm victims by providing additional breakfast items at the school every morning through the end of the school year from 7:10 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Proceeds from these items will be donated to assist people in areas of Southern Indiana and Eastern Kentucky that didn’t receive much publicity, according to a media release from the school.
DeSales High School is collecting donated items for people in Southern Indiana. These items will be taken to Scottsburg, Ind., for distribution.
Notre Dame Academy is collecting monetary donations to be distributed by Hand in Hand and St. Francis Xavier Church in Henryville, Ind., a hub of relief work in that town.
The school’s eighth-graders are collecting money for the Decker family of Southern Indiana. That family has received media attention because the mother lost part of her legs in the storm while protecting her children from harm.
The University of Louis-ville’s Catholic Campus Ministry had a clothing drive for people in Southern Indiana.
Among items being collected are: non-perishable food, water, toiletries, diapers and wipes, blankets, tarps, cleaning supplies and tools for clearing debris such as shovels, rakes and work gloves.