Deacons collecting donations for Sandy victims

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012

Catholics from across the Archdiocese of Chicago can help East Coast residents whose homes were ravaged by Superstorm Sandy clean up — literally.

Hope’s on the Way, an organization of deacons from the Archdiocese of Chicago and other volunteers, is starting “Buckets of Hope,” an effort to collect 500 buckets of cleaning supplies that will be given free to people in New York and New Jersey.

Goods will be accepted from Nov. 25-Dec. 25. Then they will be packed into buckets and picked up by Dec. 28.

Deacon Salvatore Lema said Hope’s on the Way started in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when he and a few other deacons went to New Orleans to restore the print shop at Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School. The group ended up organizing 10 more service trips to the Gulf Coast, donating more than $800,000 worth of goods and service.

The group also assisted in the Tuscaloosa, Ala., area after it was struck by tornadoes in 2011, and has helped with several projects locally, including at Zacchaeus House, Our Lady of Peace Parish and the Franciscan House of Mary and Joseph (see story, pages 14-15).

For this effort, those who want to help can drop off cleaning supplies specified in the list at one of about 10 sites throughout the archdiocese (see sidebar). Those supplies will be packed into buckets by deacons and volunteers, packed on pallets and shrink-wrapped at no charge by Pickens-Kane and transported at no cost to the East Coast by Reliable Van and Storage in Elizabeth, N.J. Catholic dioceses, parishes and other organizations have already identified drop-off points there, Lema said.

“We’ve done this before, and we know what people need,” Lema said. “Once they get back in their houses and look around, they’re going to want to clean up, and they can’t just go to Home Depot because the stores are in the same situation.”

Each Bucket of Hope will contain: 50 ounces of liquid laundry detergent; a 12- to 16-ounce bottle of liquid household cleaner that can be mixed with water (no bleach); a 16- to 28- ounce bottle of dish soap; one can of air freshener; a wood- or plastic-handled scrub brush; 18 disposable or reusable wipes; seven noncellulose sponges; five scouring pads that will not rust; 50 clothespins; 100 feet of clothesline; a 24-bag roll of heavy duty trash bags, 30- or 45-gallon size; five dust masks; two pairs of waterproof gloves; and one pair of leatherpalmed work gloves.

The buckets themselves are being provided by Hope’s on the Way.