BEAR — Relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey, which slammed into Texas the last weekend of August, took root all over the Diocese of Wilmington in the days after the storm. One of those took place at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, which opened its doors as a dropoff point for a collection drive based in Sussex County.
“If we believe in God and we are servers, we have to serve the people in need. That’s why we’re here,” said Deacon Cruz Rodriguez.
The collection at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Aug. 30 and 31 had its roots in Millsboro, where Joshua House Ministries had two trailers waiting to be loaded and transported to Texas. Jasmine Buke, who owns a Latino radio station in Seaford, heard about the effort and called Joshua House to see how she could help. The church suggested doing something in New Castle County, where she lives.
Buke and her husband also own an online Latino station, La ZMX Radio (available on the Tune In app) and had provided advertising for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton events over the years. She also has a posada each Christmas at the church. She reached out to the pastor, Father Roger DiBuo.
“Let me tell you something about Father Roger,” Buke said. “If it’s something for the community, and it’s something to help, he always, always finds a space. It’s always, ‘Yes we can. The doors of the church are always open.’ I just called him yesterday.”
Buke posted information about the drive on Facebook and elsewhere online on Aug. 29, and in the first few hours after opening the doors on Aug. 30, plastic trash bags full of clothing and other items had begun to take over a corner of the church lobby. There was a lot of clothing, and cases of bottled water were being stacked. Those are just two of the many, many items the people of Texas need, Buke said.
The list of requested items is long. In addition to clean clothes and water, it includes baby food and formula, blankets, pillows, nonperishable food, toiletries, pet food, flashlights, first-aid kits and snacks.
“Anything that they can just open and eat, or anything they can wear,” Buke said.
Deacon Rodriguez was hopeful about the response locally early into the collection.
“I hope we fill it all the way to the top,” he said. “We need to support the people in need.”