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Parishes and community organizations assisting people affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will receive up to $300,000 from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to combat the environmental disaster. The grants are specifically designated for programs that provide a voice for fishermen and the communities affected by the spill. The funding is also targeted to allow local groups to coordinate with local communities and emergency responders to document damage to coastlines and advocate for the restoration of damaged wetlands. Citing the pressing needs that have arisen since the oil began spewing from an uncapped well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico April 20, members of the U.S. bishops' subcommittee overseeing CCHD approved the additional funding outside of the anti-poverty program's normal grant cycle. Bishop Roger P. Morin of Biloxi, Miss., said the grants will aid communities dealing with lost income and environmental degradation. "The tragic oil spill has grave human, environmental and economic costs," Bishop Morin said in a statement. "As a church, we mourn the loss of life. We pray for those whose livelihoods are in jeopardy. Through these grants, the church also offers concrete support to the work that must be done to help these communities help themselves.”

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