Charity fixes 1,000th hurricane-damaged home

Published: November 15, 2006 | 5048th good news item since 2003

Today a group of Dubuque Catholic Charities volunteers from Dubuque will tear into the wreckage of Isaac Bolden’s home in the Gentilly quarter of New Orleans.

The structure is the 1,000th home Catholic Charities volunteers have rescued in the year since Hurricane Katrina inundated the city and sent tens of thousands of refugees fleeing for their lives. [Unnatural Disaster: The Nation on Hurricane Katrina]

The 10-member demolition crew, led by the Rev. Jack Paisley of Dubuque, is made up of members of Resurrection Catholic parish in Dubuque.

“We have two more groups who are going in February,” said Sister Francine Quillin, pastoral associate. “We have a very active social justice committee in our parish. ”

For the most part, the Catholic Charities crews have focused their efforts on helping elderly and disabled homeowners begin the clean-up process. The Bolden home was inundated by 10 feet of water. Bolden did not have flood insurance and he has experienced major health problems.

Bolden is currently living in an apartment in Atlanta. He is traveling by train to thank the volunteers, according to Corinne Knight, spokesperson for Catholic Charities in the New Orleans archdiocese.

“A lot of people are so moved by the experience that they want to do more,” Knight said. “They want to continue their relationship with the community, something we are so grateful for.” [Rebuilding Your Broken World]

Operation Helping Hands began over Thanksgiving weekend last year and has taken off largely by way of word-of-mouth organizing, organizers said.

“A thousand homes gutted means that 1,000 families have started to rebuild not only their homes, but also their lives,” said Joan Diaz, project manager.

To date, 6,848 volunteers participating in Operation Helping Hands have gutted 999 homes and given 178,641 hours of service valued at more than $5.4 million, Knight said. More than 3,000 volunteers from across the United States are scheduled to participate in the project through March 2007. About 1,000 homes remain on the waiting list.

Published in Charity, Hurricane Katrina, Life
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