Over $1M donated to black churches in Louisiana destroyed by alleged arson after Notre Dame fire

Credit: Gerald Herbert

Credit: Gerald Herbert

In the wake of billions of dollars being donated for the efforts to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, thousands are donating to three churches in the U.S.

Three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish in Louisiana -- St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, have been allegedly destroyed by arson in late March and early April.

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On Monday, Holden Matthews, 21, was charged with three state hate crime charges, two counts of simple arson of a religious building and one count of aggravated arson of a religious building, CNN reported. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in court.

On April 10, Seventh District Baptist Association Finance Secretary Ruth V. Jack set up a GoFundMe page to help with efforts to rebuild the three churches.

Related: Man denied bond, faces hate charges related to fires at 3 Louisiana historically black churches

"All of your generous donations will be disbursed equally among all three churches for not only rebuilding their sanctuaries, but for the purchase of all necessities lost in the fires, including pews, sound system, musical instruments, etc," Jack said in the GoFundMe post.

The New York Times reported that a number of social media users pointed out the need to donate to the struggling churches at home as billions go toward the Paris cathedral. Tweets from Hillary Clinton and journalists Jake Tapper and Yashar Ali boosted the campaign, and after taking in about $92,000 on Tuesday, about $1.3 million total has been raised in seven days. The goal of the campaign is $1.8 million.

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