Birmingham agency honored with award for disaster relief excellence

In recognition of its exemplary work in the wake of a tornado, Catholic Social Services, Diocese of Birmingham received the 2023 Great AIDE IDEA (Innovation in Disaster Excellence) award. This honor is bestowed annually by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) during the Applied Institute for Disaster Excellence (AIDE).

Catholic Social Services, Diocese of Birmingham was celebrated for their response to a tornado that struck Fultondale, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. The storm caused widespread damage to homes, vehicles, businesses, and infrastructure.

In assessing the impact, the agency quickly realized that two mobile home parks were particularly negatively affected. Many of the residents were Hispanic and did not speak English, making it difficult to access much-needed support. Agency staff and volunteers served as a vital bridge between these communities and entities like the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local churches. Volunteers also provided spiritual accompaniment and organized an outdoor Mass celebrated in Spanish. Through creativity and a commitment to serving those most in need, Catholic Social Services, Diocese of Birmingham provided critical resources to vulnerable individuals and families who otherwise might not have had access to them.

AIDE, an in-depth training for disaster relief services hosted annually by CCUSA, was held this week in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Catholic Charities Disaster Relief Efforts

Catholic Charities relief efforts begin with immediate needs of survivors. Efforts continue, sometimes for years, with long-term assistance that helps individuals and families rebuild their lives.

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A member of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 15 million people a year regardless of religious, social or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at