August 4, 2010; Source: WDSU | It’s an act of biblical proportions, and probably on a scale of the miracle Jesus is said to have performed by feeding a multitude with just seven loaves and fishes. According to television station WDSU, Catholic Charities, which received $1.1 million from BP to provide financial assistance over 30 days to victims of the Gulf oil spill, somehow made the money last for three months.

Now, though, the full amount has been spent on food, financial health, and mental counseling for some 19,000 people. That sum, plus another $700,000 in private donations, supported operations at nine sites along the Coast. Now that those funds have been completely spent, Catholic Charities and 26 other nonprofits are asking BP for another $12 million, what they estimate will be needed to cover costs for the next three months.

So far, BP hasn’t responded to the request, says Gordon Wadge, co-president of Catholic Charities. “We’ve heard a lot of encouragement from BP, but not a definite answer.” Wadge’s other concern is that donations from others around the country might start dwindling because people are seeing news reports that the leak has been plugged.

While the oil may have stopped spilling, the need for money has hardly dried up. “The needs don’t go away,” Wadge said. Certainly, based on their amazing stewardship of the first round of donations, people should have little fear of contributing to the ongoing work that Catholic Charities is doing to help get residents of the Gulf coast back on their feet.—Bruce Trachtenberg