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Updates: Merrimack Valley Tragedy

Hands holding a Central Catholic medal

The Central Catholic family quickly banded together as a support system for the community after Andover, North Andover and parts of Lawrence were rocked by unexpected gas-related explosions and fires on September 13. 

The outpouring of generosity from Raider Nation was astounding! 

Student Council Collection: Drop Off Details

Knowing there are still many being affected by this tragedy for the foreseeable future, this week the Student Council is hosting a collection of the following items for the Lawrence Senior Center and Lazarus House:

  • Canned goods, especially ready-to-eat meals such as tuna, Chef Boyardee, etc.
  • Microwavable food such as Ramen noodles, mac and cheese, etc. 
  • Diapers and baby wipes 
  • Toiletries such as shampoo, soap, baby shampoo, toothpaste, etc. 
  • Small amount gift cards to Walmart, Target, Market Basket 

If you are interested in donating, the drop off point for donations is:

Central Catholic High School, 300 Hampshire Street, Lawrence, MA 01841

Please enter at the Main Entrance (through the Courtyard) and drop off items outside of the Main Office in the Webster Family Lobby between the hours of 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM through Friday, September 28, 2018. Gift cards should be dropped off directly with a member of the Main Office staff.

Interlocking C's above %22Thank You%22 written in script

We want to wholeheartedly thank those members of our Raider Nation who have already given of themselves to help those impacted by this event. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those still enduring the impact of this unfortunate occurrence. God Bless.

The Raider Response

We received approximately 300 offers of assistance through our website alone, not including various phone calls and visits from members of the Central Catholic community.

It would be an understatement to say we have a tremendous amount of pride for your dedication to assisting others in need. Your actions truly represent the Marist tradition of caring for “the least favored.”

We include below a list of ways you can assist affected families. It is important to keep those impacted by this incident in our thoughts and prayers, as for some the rebuilding process is just beginning.

Where to Help

At this time, all immediate needs of the Central Catholic families directly impacted by this event have been met. Below are additional ways you can assist those impacted by this recent tragedy.

Groundwork Lawrence & the Lawrence Senior Center

Groundwork Lawrence, in collaboration with the Lawrence Senior Center, has an urgent need for:
  • canned goods
    • (e.g. ready-to-eat meals such as tuna, Chef Boyardee)
  • microwaveable food
    • (e.g. Ramen noodles, mac and cheese).

Please bring food donations to:

Lawrence Senior Center, 155 Haverhill Street, Lawrence, MA 01841

Additionally, they are in need of volunteers to sort the large amount of donations already received.

To volunteer your time, please call Groundwork Lawrence at (978) 974-0770 or the Lawrence Senior Center at (978) 620-3540.

Lazarus House Ministries

Lazarus House Ministries is in need of gift cards to Walmart, Target and/or Market Basket.

These donations will help victims of the recent tragedy and others in our community who have pressing needs.

For further details, please call (978) 689-8575.

If further needs arise, we will certainly inform our Raider community.

Once again, thank you for your willingness to give of yourself during this time. God Bless.

What Happened

The Merrimack Valley experienced a devastating event on September 13, 2018 as several gas-related explosions and fires occurred throughout North Andover, Andover, and Lawrence (specifically South Lawrence). The Central Catholic community continues to offer prayers and thoughts for those impacted by this unexpected happening.

The Central Catholic High School campus was thankfully not impacted by the damage. Given that we were deemed a safe environment, Central Catholic offered our campus as a shelter to the
American Red Cross. Due to openings in other facilities in the City of Lawrence, we were initially not needed as a shelter. Central Catholic continues to keep lines of communication open with the American Red Cross if future needs are required.

Unfortunately several members of our Raiders family who live in the communities involved in the destruction are in need of assistance. We also know that our incredible Raider family including students,
staff, alumni and friends will want to assist in any way they can.

Central Catholic Served as Shelter

Air mattresses and bedding covering gymnasium floor.

In an effort to respond to the needs of our greater community, Central Catholic High School offered our campus as a shelter to the City of Lawrence.

Given the amount of support needed by local families, on the evening of Saturday, September 15, Central Catholic was officially named a shelter for those impacted by the gas-related explosions and fires that happened on September 13.

As an official shelter, all organizational facets of this process were handled by the American Red Cross in collaboration with Groundwork Lawrence, Lazarus House Ministries, and the Lawrence Senior Center. Thank you to these organizations and to their volunteers for making this possible!

Some important information:

  • Families in need of assistance were able to seek shelter at Central Catholic High School, 300 Hampshire Street, Lawrence, MA 01841.
  • Over 80 beds were made available. Supplies, including general toiletries and baby needs, were on site.
  • People were able to return home on the morning of Sunday, September 16. All guests had left the shelter by 8:00 AM.

Central Catholic is happy and proud that we were able to open our campus - and our hearts - to those in the community who needed shelter and support during a difficult time.

Principal Doreen Keller and President Chris Sullivan in gym as it opens as shelter.