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Maryland Volunteers Head To Flood-Ravaged Texas; Churches Collecting Donations

Dundalk, Md. (WJZ)– Members of the Americorps Atlantic Region from Maryland headed to flood-ravaged Texas to help those in need in Houston.

Seventy-two members of Americorps are in Dallas and Austin because record flooding has made it difficult to get to Houston following Hurricane Harvey which was later demoted to a tropical storm Saturday.

Dave Beach of Americorps, has been constantly on the phone to check in with his 72 volunteers who are in Texas.

“Our members were anxious to go. They’re here to serve and this is probably the ultimate way of serving,” Beach said.

The group is made up of 18-to 24-year-old’s.

“Hopefully they’ll be working in shelters, that seems to be the immediate need,” Beach said. “They’ll also trained to help with feeding and operations.”

“Seeing the footage of feet and feet of rain and people being rescued in boats. It’s crazy,” said Alex Unger of Wisconsin, was fighting wildfires in Idaho a week ago, now he’s preparing to head to Texas.

“The state that those people are in right now, just any sense or normalcy that they can have interacting with caring human beings goes a long way,” Unger said.

He said he’s not sure how long he and crews will be there, but he said it will be long enough to make an impact.

Another group of volunteers, currently in training in Mississippi, will head west once their training ends Friday.

The Maryland region has also sent more than 100 volunteers with the American Red Cross, about 30 members of a specialized task force, and even some firefighters.

Catholic churches in Baltimore are also helping with relief, a special collection with be held to aid Harvey victims.

The archbishop made the request in a letter sent to the pastors of the Archdiocese’s 154 parishes.

“Of course the financial help is just a sign of what we believe is our greater help is our prayers,” said Rev. Father Andrew DeFusco of Cathedral Mary Our Queen. “That we don’t try to explain this but we trust that God can bring a greater good out of this suffering.”

Parishoners are also eager to help in any way they can.

“I’m hoping for them, I’m praying for them, I’m going to keep asking God to stop the rain and restore them,” parishioner Lupe Gwiazdowski said.

The emergency collection will happen this weekend, a similar request is being made of the nearly 70 catholic schools in the Archdiocese.

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