Jim McIngvale, known as "Mattress Mack," opened up his two Gallery Furniture stores in Houston for people displaced by the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
He was housing 400 people by Aug. 28, according to media reports, providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for them.
Why? "I was raised as a Catholic. I continued my Catholic faith throughout my life, trying to do the right thing and hopefully, you do the right thing and help people along the way," he told San Antonio TV station KENS.
We live many miles away in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, but we, too, have an opportunity to do the right thing and help the people who are suffering and have lost so much. Parishes of the archdiocese are holding second collections with funds going directly to Catholic relief efforts via Catholic Charities of St. Louis. Donations also can be made directly to Catholic Charities of St. Louis.
Parishes throughout the 10-county Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston have assisted with flood relief as emergency shelters or donation sites. The downtown convention center quickly filled with about 10,000 people. The hurricane has affected not only southeast Texas but also Louisiana. The Federal Emergency Management Agency anticipates 30,000 residents to be placed in temporary shelters and 450,000 victims to seek some sort of disaster assistance.
Church properties are included in the devastation, making for a difficult task of providing pastoral care in these trying times.
The recovery period will last for a long time. The tornado that struck Joplin six years ago, and recent tornadoes and flooding in the St. Louis area are examples. With a national reach through a local presence, Catholic Charities helps people through both the immediate and the long-term process of recovery and restoration. Disaster response and recovery efforts include direct assistance, home repair, home rebuilding, health care services and other programs. Catholic Charities uses case management that enables long-term disaster recovery.
The recovery process is not an easy one. Catholic Charities and its partners, coordinating with government agencies, will assess the needs of disaster survivors and work with them over the long term to meet their needs. They do their best to train, plan and build capacity to respond. But they need our help. And cash assistance is best under these circumstances.
There are many heroes in the response to the flooding, as emergency workers and volunteers rescued people from floodwaters and others manned shelters. Mattress Mack's example of his faith-filled response is one to imitate.
Be a hero, and contribute to the response.
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How to help
If you would like to assist in the flood-relief efforts, donations should be made to Catholic Charities of St. Louis and mailed to:
Catholic Charities of St. Louis
P.O. Box 952393
St. Louis, MO 63195-2393
(be sure to note Hurricane Harvey 2017).
Donations can also be made online:
(be sure to select the Hurricane Harvey 2017 Fund).