Youth group raises money for Puerto Rican family

A family in Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Maria in 2017 will be the beneficiary of two fundraisers hosted by young people in Homewood.
 
  Members of the St. Joseph
  Youth Ministry prepared for
  the pancake breakfast that
  raised $1,800 for a Puerto
  Rican family struggling after
  Hurricane Maria in 2017.

  (Provided photo)
 
The first goal of the newly organized St. Joseph Youth Ministry at St. Joseph Church was to help others. Group leader Allisa Opyd was friends with Miguel Mendez, a native of Puerto Rico whose family had lost everything when the hurricane ripped through the village of Arecibo. When she shared this news with the youth ministry members “they all agreed this was a special cause and they would like to assist the family,” she said.
 
“Mendez said his family had not recovered from the hurricane, and getting relief from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has been a challenge,” Opyd said. The family basically is starting over and has relocated temporarily.
 
The junior high and high school youth group members hosted a pancake breakfast April 22 and raised more than $1,800 for the Mendez family. Community members and parishioners made donations to the cause. Opyd said the outpouring was overwhelming.

“At first we were going to ask for donated items; however, it was going to be too expensive to ship items and there are still issues with the infrastructure on the island. 
 
“There is a Wal-Mart close to where they are temporarily living. We determined gift cards would be the best way to help them,” so the first donation is being sent off to the Mendez family, she said.
 
The youth ministry members are busy planning a second fundraiser for the family.
 
The youth ministry adult leaders are Opyd, Ginny Donahue and Becki Calomino. New members are welcome. For additional information contact [email protected] or send a text to 847-814-1862.
 

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