Local tsunami aid near $380,000
By Randy A. Grosse
The Catholic Voice
The Dec. 26 tsunami disaster in the southern Asia rim brought calls for help and offers of assistance from around the world.
And the people of the Archdiocese of Omaha were among those responding to that disaster, which claimed an estimated 220,000 lives and caused billions of dollars in damages.
As of Feb. 13, Northeast Nebraska Catholics gave a total of $378,799.44 to aid programs operated through Catholic Relief Services (CRS), including more than $100,000 donated since early-February when the first archdiocesan donations were forwarded to CRS.
In addition to the check for $264,754.50 Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss sent at that time, donations from the archdiocese included $10,000 St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha sent direct to CRS shortly after the tsunami struck.
In his letter to CRS President Ken Hackett, Archbishop Curtiss praised the people of the archdiocese for their support of the aid programs.
"I am most pleased with the generous response of our people," he wrote. "I anticipate more donations to come in to the chancery in coming weeks."
The more than $100,000 added to the local totals since the check was mailed included $50,000 from a benefit concert by Heidi Joy, a Catholic singer from Omaha.
Local gifts also included money from second collections at many parishes throughout the archdiocese, as well as individual gifts sent to the chancery.
Archdiocesan officials said the totals probably don't reflect all of the donations from the people of the archdiocese because individuals and other parishes could have sent funds direct to CRS or other church agencies.
Archbishop Curtiss, in his letter, also told Hackett he is "proud that CRS is on the forefront in bringing immediate relief and a pledge for continued aid in the region."
"Be assured of my gratitude to you and your staff for all of the hard work you have been doing in recent weeks to assist those most affected by this tragedy."
Americans have donated more than $68 million to CRS or the organization's relief, recovery and development programs. CRS officials had set an initial goal of $25 million, but because of the response from Americans, that goal is now $80 million.