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Gloucester Catholic High School Help KATRINA Relief Project

 My name is Kathy Cleminson and I am pleased to be writing you on behalf of the Gloucester Catholic Katrina Relief Project. Hurricane Katrina changed my life. More importantly, it changed the lives of thousands who still experience the devastation. 

  In early 2007, my high school decided to break away from usual limits of community service and send a group of students to New Orleans. As I stepped off the plane I still believed my purpose was to hang sheetrock, but in reality I learned it was so much more. As a result I have made "returning home" my New Year's resolution, and on behalf of Gloucester Catholic High School, so many would be grateful if you would do the same.

  In just a few days we helped rebuild the life of a woman who lost everything in the floods. She told us that every night since the hurricane she prayed for help in vain, but her patience was rewarded because "God sent me the best help possible." Her faith in us made me believe in people.

  We all have the responsibility to help each other, whether by entire movements or random acts of kindness.

  However, it was not a jolt of inspiration that moved me to feel this; it was being human. It was seeing your friends in class on Tuesday and then putting up sheetrock on Wednesday. It was looking into the eyes of a woman who lost 51 years of all she knew in one day, but still opened her heart to kids who had everything. We tried to replace so many things she had lost, but we learned our real gift to her was our presence.

  Two and a half years later, thousands of families are still seeking refuge in FEMA trailers and make-shift housing-if any. Even more devastating, this year will be the third these families can not return home for the holidays.

  Together, in New Orleans, we made 2007 the first Christmas two families would return home. This was all made possible through student-based fundraising efforts and monetary donations that sent 23 students and seven chaperones to New Orleans for five days.

  This June we will be returning with more people for 8 days and we need your help. Whether your donation is monetary, or a prize to auction off, it will be greatly appreciated and not forgotten.

    In a way our journey to New Orleans was the climax of all Gloucester Catholic, and I as a result, believe in because we showed there are no limitations when it comes to helping others. There we learned things school will never teach and some will never learn.

    I know kind people like you have made a difference in many lives over the years and now I am asking that you a difference in our lives for theirs. We are hosting a lunch at the Colonial Diner in Woodbury on Wednesday, March 19. Inform your server you are dining for Gloucester Catholic, 15 percent of your check will be donated towards our trip to New Orleans.

    I would also like to personally invite you to attend our spaghetti dinner on Sunday, April 13, 4:30 to 8 p.m., at Gloucester Catholic High School to support our cause. The cost is $15 for each adult and $10 for each child under the age of 12.

  Send donations to Gloucester Catholic High School, Mr. Joe McKenna, Service Coordinator, 333 Ridgeway Street, Gloucester City, NJ, 08030.

    If sending a check, please make it out to Gloucester Catholic High School. On memo line please put New Orleans. Thanks for your support.

Katy Cleminson

Class of 2008,

Gloucester Catholic High School