Deacons looking for aid in emergency relief efforts

By Michelle Martin
Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hope's on the Way is asking parishes to fill buckets like these with cleaning supplies for people whose homes were flooded in North Carolina. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

Remember Hurricane Matthew? People in the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., do. Residents of the eastern North Carolina are still cleaning up and recovering from the storm and the devastating flooding that it brought two months ago.

An organization founded by deacons from the Archdiocese of Chicago hasn’t forgotten, either. Hope’s on the Way, founded to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and New Orleans, is asking parishes to help them fill “Buckets of Hope” with cleaning supplies and equipment to be shipped to Catholic Charities in Raleigh.

Parishes that participate will get buckets to fill with a list of items, from disposable gloves to heavyduty trash bags, said Deacon Joseph Winblad, Hope’s on the Way chairman. Those who would prefer to donate money can buy the buckets themselves for $5 each, or give monetary donations to cover the cost of cleaning supplies. It takes about $20 to buy the supplies included in each bucket, Winblad said.

“Realistically, we’re hoping to be able to send more than 200 buckets,” Winblad said, adding that Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh has assured him that the buckets are still needed.

Once these buckets are shipped to the East Coast at the end of the month, Winblad said, he wants to start putting buckets together so that they will be ready to go without so much lag time when the next disaster hits.

It’s clear, he said, that there will be a next disaster. The effort to send buckets of cleaning supplies to North Carolina follows this summer’s effort to send buckets to people affected by flooding in Louisiana earlier this fall. Those buckets were shipped in October, just as Matthew was hitting North Carolina. The group also was able to donate and ship more than 6,000 cases of bottled water to Flint, Michigan, in the spring of 2016.

Winblad said that the same parishes – usually ones with deacons who volunteer with the group — help over and over again, and he’s looking for ways to get others interested.

In addition to the Buckets of Hope, Hope’s on the Way organizes volunteers both for mission trips to the areas they have sent supplies to and to help shelters, churches and other organizations in the Archdiocese of Chicago. They recently assembled cabinets and refinished tables for the St. Nicholas Parish special religious education program in Evanston and plan to paint at Southwest Suburban PADS during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

For more information or to find out how to get involved, visit


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