NewsPositively Detroit


Donations pour in at Detroit church after thieves steal charity raffle items

Posted at 10:33 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 23:44:06-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Saint Hyacinth Roman Catholic Church in Detroit's Poletown neighborhood is getting overwhelming support from the community after they were robbed last week.

The thieves took expensive donations that were set to be raffled off at their annual Banana Festival.

Parishioners say after 7 Action News reported on the story, donations started flooding in.

"The amount of people reaching out to us, it is so heartwarming. It kind of brings you to tears at the same time," said Susan Kraus, who chairs the church's Evangelization Committee.

She says when the church was robbed last week, it was like being kicked while you're down.

The thief broke through a window in the old school building next to the church.

They took a TV, a vacuum and other expensive items. The money from the raffled item helps the church pay their bills and salaries.

"People whether they are here in Michigan, Colorado or California, they are sending things in because they had a connection to the parish, and it is just mind boggling," Kraus said.

Donors — many of them anonymous — dropped off a new TV that's larger than the one that was stolen.

"We are supposed to get two more TVs, smaller ones," Kraus said.

Whoever broke in attempted to steal the church's water heater, causing flooding and electrical damage.

Kraus says the cost to fix everything is well above $5,000.

That's why it was a heartwarming when students from St. Mary's Preparatory High School in Orchard Lake came by with a $3,200 check.

"Seeing your story (on 7 Action News) and the word spreading in the Polish community in metropolitan Detroit, it became clear that we had to do something to help," said Chris Czarnik, the chief development officer at Orchard Lake Schools.

The students all pitched in $5 to come up with the money.

After our story aired, someone came out to church to install four outdoor lights. A company also pledged to set up security cameras outside doors and near a window where the thieves broke in. This is all equipment the church needed but couldn't afford.

Kraus says the generosity of the community is something St. Hyacinth never anticipated.

"Everybody who has donated, we will eventually get back to you and send thank-yous, but thank you from the bottom of our heart that you care about us and care about keeping this parish open," Kraus said.

The Banana Festival is this weekend and kicks off on Oct. 1. Kraus says those who couldn't afford to donate promised to show up. They are expecting a big turnout.