BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In the four days since being created, a GoFundMe account benefiting members of recently destroyed historically black churches has raised over $50,000. Now, former Saints tight end Ben Watson is calling on the community to donate even more money to the campaign to help it reach the goal of more than $1M.
Watson endorsed the campaign in a tweet linked to the GoFundMe where donations can be made.
“We are working with the Governor of Louisiana, local leaders, elected officials, the impacted churches and their pastors, other faith organizations and the community to ensure 100% of all funds raised will be evenly distributed to the three churches affected,” wrote an organizer on the GoFundMe page.
Those three churches are St. Mary Baptist Church in Porte Barre, Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. All three were intentionally set ablaze.
Police connected the crime to Holden Matthews, 21, the son of St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Roy Matthews. Holden was arrested and charged with three counts of simple arson of a religious building on Wednesday, April 11. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.
In another tweet, Watson said the focus now, however, is not blame. Instead the community is committed to rebuilding.
“It is imperative that we show this community and the entire country that these types of acts do not represent who we are. And most importantly as the body of Christ, we suffer along side our brothers and sisters whenever tragedy, persecution or loss happens,” Watson wrote.
Organizers say the money will be used for several church related expenses in addition to rebuilding sanctuaries, including pews, sound systems, and musical instruments.
You can donate to the GoFundMe by clicking the link here.
Donations can also be mailed to the following address:
Seventh District Baptist Association
PO Box 281
Ville Platte, La 70586