A special collection for Hurricane Sandy victims along with other fundraising efforts throughout the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese raised $450,000 for downstate communities hit hard by the late-October storm.
Collections and fundraising in five upstate dioceses, including Albany, raised more than $1.3 million, Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Albany Diocese said Wednesday.
The response from the Albany Diocese and others across the state was noteworthy considering that at a similar time in 2011, gifts were coming into upstate New York to help recovery efforts from flooding caused by tropical storms Irene and Lee, Hubbard said.
“Schools and parishes quickly pulled together vital supplies and arranged to bring them to the disaster zone,” said a statement from the diocese about aid to the greater New York metropolitan area and Long Island hit by Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29.
“Locally, more than a dozen schools in the Albany Diocese got involved and fundraised with dress-down days and relief drives,” the statement said.
Hundreds of local homes and businessed were damaged by Irene and Lee in August and September 2011, Much of upstate New York, including eleven counties in the Albany Diocese, were declared federal disaster areas.
“In many cases, we have families and neighbors who are still rebuilding their own lives [after Irene], reaching out and offering help to the victims of Sandy downstate,” said Vince Colonno, CEO of Albany Catholic Charities.
“Last year, they were receiving assistance, and this year, they’re doing an amazing job of providing support. It really has come full circle,” he said in a statement.
Through special collections, fundraisers, school events and individual contributions, the total raised by the Catholic Church and its ministries in the five upstate dioceses was $1,364,822.
“The response has been overwhelming,” said Hubbard, representing the five upstate bishops. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are still recovering from this storm, and these donations will be put to work right away.”