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After Matthew: How you can help

People search for belongings Oct. 7 in the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in Baracoa, Cuba. The powerful hurricane left serious damage at the eastern end of the island, with landslides, toppling electricity poles and cutting off roads by flooding. (CNS photo/Alejandro Ernesto, EPA) See HURRICANE-MATTHEW-RESPONSE Oct. 6, 2016.

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/07/16

The devastation in the Caribbean has been severe, and the toll is only expected to climb as the storm barrels through Florida and up the American coast.

In the midst of this, there are growing efforts to help.

We received this press release a short time ago:

Hurricane Matthew brought 145 mph winds, torrential rains and devastation to Haiti assuring a long season of recovery and rebuilding for one of the world’s poorest countries. More than ever, this year the children of that beleaguered nation who live in dire poverty—as well as the Dominican Republic—need the spiritual and emotional blessing the Box of Joy Christmas initiative will bring.You can help.Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy ministry is a way for people anywhere to help by packing a Christmas gift box that goes to a child who otherwise might receive nothing. Last year, Box of Joy brightened 11,500 kids’ lives. This year, that ray of sunshine is needed for even more children.“Relief efforts underway now will bring vital aid to Hurricane Matthew’s victims,” said Jim Canvar, Cross Catholic Outreach president. “But long after the spotlight is off Haiti, needs will remain. This year the hope and help that Box of Joy brings to children in countries like Haiti and the Dominican Republic is needed more than ever. They are counting on compassionate Americans to deliver that hope.”You can help hurricane affected families in three ways:

  Give the gift of hope and joy to children in need by packing a Box of Joy with items such as small toys, bar soap, pencils, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hard candy, crayons, coloring books or T-shirts. Drop-off centers at churches, schools and groups nationwide receive the boxes during Box of Joy week, Nov. 5-13. Find an interactive map of drop-off centers here. Include a $9 check to cover S&H from the drop-off center to Haiti or Dominican Republic and to support the charities helping the child’s community.

  Bring any quantity of unpacked gift items from the suggested gift list or relief-related items to the drop-off center. Box of Joy volunteers use these items to ensure each child receives approximately the same number and variety of gifts in their box. There is a dire need for these extra items now. Find the suggested gift list here. Relief-related items include bar soap replacement of school supplies, flashlights, rain ponchos, bandages, duct tape, socks, underwear, T-shirts, etc. 

Support Cross Catholic Outreach’s relief efforts for hurricane-affected areas. Learn more at

Meanwhile, Catholic News Service earlier today posted the following on their blog:

Donations are being sought to meet emergency and long-term responses to the storm. Among those accepting cash donations are: — Catholic Relief Services. Donations can be made online; via mail to P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, Maryland, 21297-0303 and indicate Hurricane Matthew in the memo; or call toll-free 877-435-7277 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time. — Catholic Medical Mission Board online. — Malteser International, Order of Malta Worldwide Relief organization online. — Development and Peace/Caritas Canada online. — Salesian Missions online.

Please help in whatever way you can—and especially, of course, with prayer.

Photo: CNS / Alejandro Ernesto, EPA

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