The first of hundreds of online donations to Francis House came in early Thursday, just after midnight, as news broke that the Catholic Church was cutting off funding to the homeless services agency because of its new director's support of Planned Parenthood and gay marriage.
By Friday morning, people from Sacramento and across the country had contributed some $8,000 to the nonprofit group, and the checks and telephone calls continued throughout the day.
"We've been swamped," said Michael Miiller, a member of the agency's corporate advisory board. "The generosity has been incredible."
In addition to donations from $20 to $1,500, the group has received offers of volunteer help and pledges of support from ordinary people and power brokers, including state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, both Sacramento Democrats.
The cash and pledges will fill the gap created in January, when the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento decided to discontinue funding Francis House as part of its annual appeal, Miiller said.
The Bee published a story on the development Thursday that quickly went viral on the Web, triggering a lively online discussion and telephone calls to Francis House and the Catholic diocese. The diocese heard from vocal supporters of its decision as well as those who opposed it, said spokesman Kevin Eckery.
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