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By Sue Parker

Hurricanes wreak havoc on Caribbean islands, southern U.S.

Here’s how you can help: 

Catholic Charities USA. 100% of all donations are used to support Catholic Charities agencies’ efforts in the areas impacted by the recent hurricanes, including Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, to assist families and individuals with shelter, food, and other emergency supplies.

To donate, call 1-800-919-9338 or visit

The scenes are unbelievable and heart-breaking – exhausted, crying and disheveled survivors shocked into silence as they stand waiting for hours for food, water or fuel; lines of hospital patients in wheel chairs waiting for a flight to safety; homes torn apart and immersed in water up to the eaves; cars up-ended along streets and boats sinking in marinas; the landscape littered with twisted trees stripped of all foliage and crops flooded and destroyed. 

Three major hurricanes have ravaged the United States in less than a month, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and millions without power and basic necessities.

In Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Harvey dumped a record 51.88 inches of rain and forced an estimated 30,000 people in Houston, and thousands more in other coastal communities, from their homes.

In the Caribbean and Florida, Hurricane Irma tore through the Virgin Islands of St. John and St. Thomas, then spanned Florida, ripping through the Keys and crossing the state to cause flooding in the northeast of the peninsula and Georgia. Estimates from government officials report that 40,000 of St. Thomas’s 52,000 residents are now homeless.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that almost 150, 000 households in Florida have filed for assistance.  Data was not yet available for areas in Georgia.

With barely time to assess damage from Irma, the Virgin Islands braced for Hurricane Maria. This time the 150 mile-an-hour winds pummeled St. Croix before unleashing the worst of her wrath on Puerto Rico.  According to Associated Press reports, 80 percent of the island’s transmission lines are knocked out, and almost all of the island’s customers are still without power.  FEMA officials report that as of this writing, 42 percent of residents are without clean water. According to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, 3.4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are affected by this disaster.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called on Catholics across the country to respond in prayer and generosity to aid those mourning the loss of loved ones, their homes, and in some cases, their entire communities. The need is tremendous as recovery continues in some areas and is just beginning in other storm-battered regions. Many residents are desperate as food, water and fuel supplies dwindle because of the damage to roads, bridges, airports and water treatment plants. The recovery of power in Puerto Rico is expected to take months because of the extreme destruction.  

Motto of Catholic Charities:

We serve people not because they are Catholic; We serve people because we are Catholic.

Your every act should be done with love. — I Corinthians 16:14