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Janesville Catholic churches trying to fill flood relief gap

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Kayla Bunge
August 16, 2008
— Five Catholic churches in Janesville and Milton are banding together to provide flood relief in the absence of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Diocese of Madison and Catholic Charities have teamed up to provide help for Rock County residents affected by flooding. The participating local churches are St. John Vianney, St. Patrick, St. William and Nativity of Mary in Janesville and St. Mary in Milton.


“People are just going to keep needing assistance throughout this whole thing,” said the Rev. Randy Timmerman of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Janesville. “We’re just trying to reach out.”


Representatives of Catholic Charities and trained local parishioners will be at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 315 Cherry St., for two weeks. They began providing people with monetary assistance, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items Wednesday. A mobile food pantry will be available Saturday.


“We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants since (the flooding began), trying to raise consciousness…that there were a number of communities impacted very hard,” said Tom Nelson of the Diocese of Madison Rural Life Office.


When they arrive at the church, people will be asked a few questions to asses the amount of assistance they might need, he said.


Nelson said even people who have no visible damage now should inquire about assistance because damage could show up later as weather changes.


“A lot of people think they weren’t damaged enough,” he said. “And they’re not wanting to be selfish with the limited amount of FEMA help out there.


“But there are opportunities down the road. There might be something they didn’t think about their property, and it might show up.”


Nelson said Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Madison already have spent two weeks in Sauk County, where they helped about 180 households, and two weeks in Jefferson County, where they helped about 300 households.


Rock County was the next stop along the Rock River, he said.


“We wanted to provide the mercy and compassion that our churches always try to provide through this very direct approach in one of the areas that was very hard hit,” he said. “The population is so much larger than some of the other areas hit by the flooding.”


FLOOD RELIEF


Who: Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Madison.


What: Flood relief for Rock County residents.


Where: St. Patrick Catholic Church, 315 Cherry St., Janesville.


When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (mobile food pantry 11 a.m.-2 p.m.), 4-7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.


What’s available: Monetary assistance, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, baby items and back-to-school supplies. Counseling also is available.



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