May. 5, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng paid a visit to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy in Bayside on Thursday, May 4, to view the security improvements made at the school after she helped secure funding for that cause.
Meng witnessed the unveiling of the school’s improvements, which include a new lockdown system and fortified infrastructure.
“Keeping our communities safe from acts of religious-based violence has to continue to be a top priority and these security enhancements for Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy will provide greater protections for those who work and attend school in the building,” Meng said. “I thank the academy and the Diocese of Brooklyn for working to keep people out of harm’s way and I’m pleased to have helped obtain this crucial funding.”
Meng secured $57,000 in funding for these improvements through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program. This program provides grants to houses of worship and nonprofit entities to enhance the safety and security of these properties in order to better guard against threats and attacks.
“The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is of the highest priority,” Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy Principal Joan Kane said. “We are grateful for Congresswoman Meng’s assistance and support in obtaining this grant. We were delighted to have her visit our academy.”
The senior member of New York’s House Appropriations Committee, Meng helped to secure $305 million over the fiscal year for the Nonprofit Security Program. This represented a $55 million increase from the previous fiscal year, which was a record high at the time. Meng had also been successful in prior fiscal years when it came to increasing the amount of funding for this program. As was the case in previous years, Meng held a workshop last February for houses of worship and nonprofits in Queens to learn more about the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and how they can successfully apply for funding to make improvements to their buildings.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money is used for the grants. They can be used to cover target-hardening and other physical security enhancements, including barriers, gates, safety gear, surveillance equipment and other safety measures.
“The caring work of Rep. Meng continues to make a difference in her district and most specifically for the children at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy,” Catholic Schools Superintendent at the Diocese of Brooklyn Superintendent Deacon Kevin McCormack said. “Our school was able to better fortify its infrastructure and add a lockdown system, and in turn create a safer environment for the whole school. When our public officials, like Rep. Meng, focus on their constituents and the common good, great things happen.”
Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy originally opened in 1951. Students from kindergarten through eighth grade attend the school. Additionally, the school provides after-school programs, as well as 3K and pre-K.