When Father Andrew Moore saw the devastation that was around him as Harvey was bringing flooding rain to Southeast Texas, he couldn’t just sit by and do nothing.
He sprang into action through Facebook, motivating and encouraging parishioners.
Since the parish freezers at Infant Jesus had food, “Let’s start putting meals together,” he said, maybe feeding 10 to 15 people.
Others saw what they were doing and it grew until they were cooking and serving several hundreds of meals daily for about a week. They have now moved into the second part of their Harvey ministry and are distributing cleaning supplies and needed personal items.
Another parish that has been ministering to the multitude of Harvey impacted people is St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Beaumont. They cooked and served meals to hundreds including first responders, law enforcement, hospital staff, individuals and supplemented the meal serve at Some Other Place.
Parishioners have helped with laundry, pet care, mucking out homes and unloading 18-wheelers full of relief goods.
That parish is also moving into helping with the recovery process. Parishioners there have signed up to participate in the Catholic Charities Assist-a-Family project. Those parishioners will help a partner family with varying levels of assistance in their recovery process.
These two weren’t the only parishes to jump into Harvey ministry.
St. Elizabeth Parish opened its parish hall doors and evacuees flooded in. The parish gave people a place to sleep, eat and charge their phones. After the evacuees left, first responders arrived and used the hall as well.
St. Charles provided ministry to hundreds of people in Nederland. They also took in people who had to abandon their homes due to rising flood waters. They also fed hundreds of people including first responders and a people at a senior independent living facility in Port Arthur.
At St. Mary, Cleveland, the American Red Cross is partnering with the parish to host a shelter. Individuals and families are sleeping there, some on the floor. They are also attending to personal needs, providing meals and are hosting nurses and a doctor to meet the medical needs.
In Port Arthur at St. Joseph, though individual parishioners were hard hit themselves, they came together and worked at the church to help the community, after waiting for the flood waters to recede from the church property. The parishioners helped distribute food and other donations. They also worked to clean out the flooded buildings at St. Joseph.
At St. Mary, Fannett, after the flood waters left the area, parishioners worked many hours cleaning out flood ravaged buildings – which was all the building on the parish site.
Sometimes the help was more one-on-one like when Father Rejimon George, CMI, helped Father Mark Ameh, MSP, with cleanup at St. John the Evangelist, Port Arthur.
These are just some of the help that was found in the Diocese of Beaumont. From parishioners to Knights of Columbus, individuals going through neighborhoods to Catholic Charities organizing donations from across the country, Southeast Texas Catholics are pulling together to help those in need.
As one put it, “We’re just faithful servants.”