Showing Compassion for Tornado Victims

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The tornadoes hit hard in central Oklahoma during May, and thousands of people lost their homes and other worldly possessions. We pray for the 48 people who lost their lives and for all who love and miss them. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was a leading first-response organization, but like other Catholic Charities around the country, the Oklahoma City organization will be providing long-term assistance to people affected by these natural disasters.

Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa called for a special collection at Masses during Memorial Day weekend. Our Catholic Charities coordinated the collection and recorded the donations, then quickly sent the funds on to the Oklahoma City Catholic Charities. As of June 27, 2013, the donations totaled $239,533 from more than 1,900 individuals and families. This generous support will help thousands of people!

MaryLynn Lufkin, Coordinator of Catholic Charities’ Sallisaw Helping Center, and Red Cross volunteer, Ann Ruiz, review assistance applications before starting their day at a temporary shelter in the gymnasium of a Methodist Church in OKC. MaryLynn was one of several case workers sent by organizations across several states to assist with disaster relief in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma City Catholic Charities’ staff and volunteers attended daily to the needs of the storm victims at five locations, including El Reno, Shawnee, Little Axe, Norman, and Moore. Services included cash assistance, food, utility and rent assistance, counseling, and more. Patrick Raglow, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese, reported in mid-June that there had been 3,036 client intakes. In addition, 700 individuals and families had been helped with food. More than $361,000 had been distributed to those in need, and there are many more months of service to come.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said in an open letter, “Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City and we as an archdiocese will work with many others to ensure a smooth and comprehensive response not only to the immediate needs of those affected by the violent storms, but also to their long-term needs as they rebuild their lives. We’re there for the long term and we’re usually the last ones to leave.”