Bishop's School 2007
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How to help people displaced by an Allentown gas explosion

Early in the afternoon on December 9, a gas explosion in Allentown leveled three homes, destroyed a fourth and damaged four others in what had been eight connected townhouses. It was “the city's worst natural gas explosion in more than a decade,” according to a report in The Morning Call.

Fortunately, most of the residents who were home had been quickly evacuated. There were no deaths or serious injuries. Twenty-six residents, however, half of them children, have been displaced and now struggle to put their lives back together.
One of the homes leveled was that of Cecilia Rodriguez, job counselor with the Weed and Seed program housed at Grace Church, Allentown. Her children were visiting her mother at the time and were not present. According to an email note Bob House, administrator a Grace Church, sent to parishioners last week, Cecilia was in front of the house talking to the UGI employee when the explosion occurred and was hit by a flying door. A lot of debris fell on her husband, who was inside the house, but he came through with just minor injuries as did Cecilia. Both are fortunate to be alive.

“Cecilia and her family have lost their home and all their possessions right down to her car, driver’s license and cell phone,” Bob said. They are being housed by the Red Cross at a local motel. Please keep Cecilia, her husband Angelo, and their two children A.J. (Angelo Jr.) and Miangelisse in your prayers.

“Since Cecilia works with us during the week,” Bob continued, “most of you have not had the opportunity to witness the incredible job she does for her clients; she pours her heart and soul into helping others every day of the week. She is an integral part of the ministry of Grace Church to the inner city of Allentown."

“At this point she does not know how we can help her,” Bob concluded. “In my conversation with her it was evident, as one would expect, that she is still in a state of emotional shock. As soon as I find out how we can minister to her as she has to so many others in our community, I will let you know.”

Yesterday morning (Sunday) in church, Grace parishioner Mary Louise Bross informed the congregation that the church had set up a “Cecilia Fund” to help the Rodriguez family. Mary Louise volunteered to coordinate the effort. Monetary contributions by check may be made payable to Grace Church. Please note on your check or envelope that this is for the “Cecilia Fund.” There are also other ways to help. If you are interested and seek more information on helping, you may send email to Mary Louise. If you write to me or to this list, I will forward your note to Mary Louise.

 Additionally, a fund for all the families displaced by the explosion has been set up at Keystone Nazareth Bank & Trust. Donations can be made to the Victims of Allentown Explosion Fund at any of the bank's branches.



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