Twice in eleven years I have seen unimaginable tragedy strike the New York tri-state area, with Staten Island profoundly impacted, and twice I have seen an outpouring from around the nation that simply beggars the imagination.
The first was 9/11, with hundreds of Staten Islander killed. Virtually all of us lost friends and loved ones, fellow parishioners or former schoolmates in that disaster. The response of the nation in prayer and financial support for the survivors was unprecedented. Perhaps naively, I never expected that we would be laid so low ever again.
Sandy disabused me of that notion, and the response from around the nation has been even more astounding than that following 9/11. The food, clothing, blankets, cots, beds have been so plentiful that the volunteers have had quite a time keeping up with the rate of flow.
What we are doing this weekend on Staten Island is having the pastors of the various churches, Knights of Columbus, and other groups coming together to compile a collective inventory, assess what needs remain, and then formulate a plan for redistributing the remainder to other areas of need who have not enjoyed the same media coverage we have.
Absolutely no donation will go to waste, or be misdirected. The diligence and care with which the donations are being managed is noteworthy.
In a similar way, the donations from the Coming Home pro-life family have been tremendous. I’m told that the donations to Sr. Margaret Mary’s food pantry at St. Theresa’s Church now stand in the thousands of dollars, and more coming every day. Every penny will be used, and rather quickly as people return to their homes (those that were damaged but in need of repair).
At 4 PM, I’ll bee meeting a moving truck sent by native Staten Islander, Lt. Mike Kipp from Fort Benning, Georgia. It’s loaded with brand new blankets, cots, coats and clothing. It is a gift from the people of his parish and the military personnel on the base.
As Thanksgiving looms large, yes, there are thousands whose lives have been torn apart by Sandy, and they will be uppermost in our prayers. However, it is a time for giving thanks to almighty God for the love and care extended to our community by millions of people. With FEMA still largely absent, this loving support from around the nation has been literally Heaven-sent.
On behalf of all those here who have benefitted from your generosity, of those who have been inspired by your love, my deepest thanks. Please be assured that as we gather in our churches on Thanksgiving, you will all be lifted up in thanksgiving by this island. Your generosity, and the outpouring of help from those here as well best illustrate JFK’s closing admonition from his inaugural address:
With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.
For those who would still wish to help, the best way at this point is donating to the food pantrys, with food being the longest-term need well into the new year. Just send your check (which is tax-deductable) made out to: St. Theresa’s Food Pantry.
Address your envelope to:
St. Theresa’s Food Pantry
c/o Sr. Margaret Mary
1634 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, New York 10314
Again, my deepest and heartfelt thanks. May the love that you have shared be returned a hundred-fold! Have a blessed Thanksgiving.