Scrambling to respond to the vast needs created by Hurricane Harvey in August and now by Hurricane Irma, the Knights of Columbus, the country’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, has raised more than $1.3 million to aid disaster victims in Texas and those in Florida and elsewhere who now stand in the path of Irma.

“We have seen incredible generosity from our members, and we invite others to join us in providing aid that is urgently needed,” said Knights’ CEO Carl Anderson, in a statement released on Sept. 8.

“The funds we raise will make a real difference in the lives of those already affected, and those who are bracing for the worst,” Anderson said.

Already the Knights have distributed more than $150,000 for food, water and other necessities for people affected by the historic flooding in and around Houston, Corpus Christi and an enormous swath of inland and Gulf Coast towns and cities in Texas caused by Harvey.

Knights in Texas are providing food and shelter to victims, helping people return to their homes, clearing debris, and solving local problems such as providing some 5,000 meals in the Beaumont area and 8,000 in Ingleside. Weekend Masses in early September were held at a Knights’ hall in Dickinson due to flood damage at the local parish.

At the same time, Knights in areas that may be affected by Irma are preparing disaster plans as the storm prepares to bear down.

Consistent with the organization’s long-time policy, officials say that 100 percent of all disaster relief donations they collect are being used for current relief efforts, as well as the needs that may arise from Irma.

In the immediate wake of Harvey, the Knights began appealing to their members for financial contributions to relief efforts. As the full range of need created by Harvey is now coming into view, and in light of new needs likely to be generated by Irma, they’re now appealing to the general public for support.

Donations by check or money order can be sent to: Knights of Columbus Charities, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966 with “United Disaster Relief” in the memo portion of the check. They can also be made online or by calling 1-800-694-5713.

(The Knights of Columbus are also a principal sponsor of Crux.)