Catholic groups aided Chapel Hill flood recovery

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

Heavy rains on June 30, 2013, left about 150 families in the Chapel Hill area with damage from flooding. In the year since, recovery for some families has been aided by a collaboration of groups including the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, and St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill.
Last July, St. Thomas More Catholic School hosted a one-day event to collect furniture donations for victims of flooding.
The Very Rev. Scott McCue, pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, said a ministry created in 2012 by two parishioners stepped up to help. The Furniture Project, started by Jane and Jeff Hathaway, was created to help people transitioning from shelters, veterans or domestic violence victims who needed furniture for their new homes, McCue said.
“It was so obvious with the floods, there was an immediate need for help,” he said. McCue said they worked with Catholic Charities, the Red Cross and Orange County Social Services to aid 170 families affected by the flooding. When St. Thomas More hosted the furniture donation drive day, word spread and the entire school auditorium was filled with furniture in one day, he said.
“We were able to make use of an already existing ministry and able to step it up and respond to this emergency event,” McCue said. The Furniture Project has become an ecumenical project, he said, with 13 congregations coming together to served 247 families to date.
The Green Chair Project, Inc., based in Raleigh, stored the donated furniture and families displaced by the flood were invited to pick out new furniture. Catholic Charities funded transportation of all the furniture from St. Thomas More to the chair project.
Solier Gordon-Schaefer of Catholic Charities also worked with Chapel Hill and Carrboro families referred to them by the American Red Cross. Catholic Charities’ assistance also included buying building materials for a man who needed to reconstruct his home, and helped another woman with rent and a deposit to move into a new apartment after her Chapel Hill apartment was flooded. Gordon-Schaefer also helped them get information about new furniture and clothes. The American Red Cross named Catholic Charities its Community Partner of the Year.
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