More than 7,700 donors have contributed more than $400,000 to a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help repair a group of historically black churches in Louisiana that were damaged after a man, now charged with hate crimes, allegedly set them on fire.
The Seventh District Baptist Association, a nonprofit religious organization which includes the churches impacted by the recent fires, said on the campaign’s website that it was actively working with the Louisiana governor, elected officials, the impacted churches and their pastors, other faith organizations and the community “to ensure 100% of all funds raised will be evenly distributed to the three churches affected.”
“President [Freddie] Jack requested that a Go Fund Me campaign be initiated to show our support for our church families and the communities affected,” a statement reads. “We are unequivocally committed to aiding our Sister Churches.”
Former New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson called on people to join him in supporting recovery efforts for the churches.
As the 3 church congregations in Louisiana begin to recover join me in supporting their rebuilding efforts.
Donations can be mailed to:
Seventh District Baptist Association
PO Box 281
Ville Platte, La 70586
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) April 13, 2019
Journalist Yashar Ali wrote in a tweet Tuesday that “the rebuild of Notre Dame will be well funded” after a fire at the cathedral in Paris this week, while adding that the Louisiana churches “need your help.”
The rebuild of Notre Dame will be well funded.
In the past month, three historically black churches in Louisiana were destroyed by a racist arsonist. He has been charged with hate crimes, but these churches need your help. Please join me in donating https://t.co/gj1BcNsGpu
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 16, 2019
Holden Matthews, the son of a St. Landry Parish sheriff’s deputy, was arrested last week in connection with the fires.
He was charged with hate crimes on Monday and is also facing two counts of simple arson of a religious building and one count of aggravated arson of a religious building due to the “immediate danger” to residents of a home 15 feet from the Greater Union Baptist Church.
Matthews, 21, has pleaded not guilty.