The Storms Have Passed, but the Needs Continue

Inside Leadership

The Storms Have Passed, but the Needs Continue

House with damage from hurricane/beach erosion

Although the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has dissipated, countless individuals and numerous Reform congregations were affected by the storms, and their needs will continue for months to come.

Update: Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

We’re extremely grateful for so many donors’ generous support to the URJ’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (now closed), which was instrumental in supporting the work of URJ Greene Family Camp and our other community partners in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

These organizations are continuing to accept donations to assist Houstonians in rebuilding their homes and their lives:

According to Rabbi David Lyon of Congregation Beth Israel, a large Reform community in Houston, many of whose members are in great need following the storm:

Congregation Beth Israel will be assisting hundreds and hundreds of families in coming days and weeks. They'll need gift cards to assist in meeting immediate needs and expenses for replenishing clothing, toiletries, household items, school supplies for children, and more. Hurt has no shame and no label; we just need to heal one another.

The most useful donations are physical gift cards (not electronic versions) that can be used at major national retailers such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s and at the major grocery stores in the area, including Kroger and H-E-B. You may send gift cards to any Houston-area congregation, where they will be distributed based on need:

Update: Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts

Because Florida is a strong area within the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) system, our best response is to partner closely with them in this joint effort. We are working closely with JFNA to ensure the needs of our URJ congregations (and their congregants) will be a high priority for relief allocations, and ongoing, high-level contact with JFNA will continue as the allocation process develops.

At that request of volunteers working directly with flood victims in both Houston and Florida, direct financial support to relief organizations or gift cards are preferable to donations of food or clothing because it is difficult and inefficient to match victims’ needs with specific donations. Thank you for your generosity!

Mark Pelavin is the chief program officer and director of the Biennial at the Union for Reform Judaism.

Mark J. Pelavin

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