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(The Advocate via AP)

A crowdfunding campaign for three African American churches in Louisiana recently burned in a hate crime was climbing Tuesday (April 16) after social media posts urging the public not to forget the plight of the small houses of worship as the eyes of the world were on the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

“As we hold Paris in our hearts today, let’s also sent some love to our neighbors in Louisiana,” a Tuesday tweet from Hillary Clinton read.

Many others, sent a similar message, stating that the Notre Dame restoration will be well funded and urging support for the Louisiana churches.

“It’s a blessing, truly a blessing,” the Rev. Freddie Jack, president of the Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association, told NOLA.com in an interview. All three churches are members of the association.

Suspect Holden Matthews, 21, is in custody in connection with the Louisiana fires and faces charges that include hate crimes. The fires happened in and around Opelousas beginning in late March. Matthews was arrested a week ago.

The campaign hit $500,000 Tuesday evening, with contributions ranging from $5 to thousands of dollars.

“It’s all working out for the greater good,” Jack said, when asked about the connection being made to the Notre Dame fire.

The money raised will be distributed equally among the three century-old churches: St. Mary Baptist Church, which burned on March 26 in Port Barre, and Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas, which burned over the following 10 days.

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