Catholic Charities USA has distributed more than $9.4 million to 50 local Catholic Charities and other Catholic organizations to date, in response to the needs of families affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The organization has also made a long-term commitment to these families and is working to raise funds for community reconstruction, which may take up to five years.

"With evacuees now living in dozens of cities nationwide, Catholic Charities agencies from across the country are addressing the needs of evacuees that have come into their communities," said Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. "At the same time, our agencies are preparing to serve the victims' long-term emotional, financial, and other needs."

Catholic Charities USA, which was commissioned by the U.S. bishops to represent the Catholic community in times of domestic disaster, has raised more than $53 million to date to assist in what will be the network's largest disaster response effort in its history. However, it continues to work hard to raise the money that will be needed over the next three to five years to rebuild these communities.

Up to this point, 50 local Catholic Charities agencies and Catholic organizations have each received disaster relief grants from Catholic Charities USA, ranging from $6,000 to $3.9 million.

Relief efforts include providing victims with food, financial aid, clothing, shelter, gas and retail store cards, help with medical and prescription needs, clean-up assistance, crisis counseling, transportation, job placement, and temporary and long-term housing.

"Millions more in disaster funding will continue to go out in the weeks, months, and years to come as our agencies continue to provide whatever services are necessary to see our neighbors through this difficult time," said Fr. Snyder.