Our hearts go out to the communities of Houston, San Antonio, Galveston, Corpus Christi and other areas that have been hammered by Hurricane Harvey, including Jewish communities still recovering from flooding two years ago. With record breaking rain having fallen and expected to continue, extensive damage continues to mount.

Due to the generosity and compassion of community members, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has already delivered over $50,000 in relief funds directly to those in need on the ground.

All funds collected go directly and immediately towards disaster relief through our national partner the Jewish Federations of North America, who distribute money in cooperation with Jewish Federations and relief agencies in affected areas.

Please donate below to the
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

Below is an excerpt of an update sent 9-5-2017 from the President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America, Jerry Silverman:

While we are keeping an eye on South Florida and Hurricane Irma, our work with Houston continued throughout the weekend. The central area of the sprawling Houston region is in the “mucking out phase” (clearing out furnishings and damaged plaster).  None of it can be removed from in front of a house until insurance adjusters and FEMA representatives have come to verify the damage. Other parts of Houston are still under water and inaccessible.For that reason we don’t have much information about the damage to the four congregations and JCC annex located in West Houston because they are still inaccessible. 

JFNA’s Emergency Committee Authorized Additional Funds
Yesterday JFNA's Emergency Committee met to allocate an additional $250,000, which brings total allocations to $750,000. These funds cover cash assistance to flood victims (distributed through the local Jewish Family Service), extended day camp for programs that provide safe places for children, grants to rabbis for congregant families in need, grant to the Houston Hebrew Free Loan Association to supplement loan pool for hurricane-specific needs matching dollars pledged by four other large Hebrew Free Loan Associations 

Volunteers and Incoming Supplies Face Logistical Challenges
There are many volunteer efforts throughout the Houston area and within the Jewish community.  Outside groups are starting to show up but getting volunteers and supplies to where they’re needed is difficult and in some cases impossible; housing and feeding them is also a challenge. With generous support from the Taube Philanthropies (based in San Francisco) we have been fortunate to work with All Hands,  a group that focusses on addressing the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters by leveraging volunteers. From here on in they will serve as the point of contact for all Jewish-community volunteer efforts. Requests to volunteer should be directed to 1-800-820-5188. 

The JCC is no longer serving as a distribution center so there is no longer a mechanism for managing donations of physical items. In-kind donations should be sent to the United Way of Greater Houston. 

Gearing Up for What Comes Next 

We anticipate the following items will be significant parts of what we are looking to fund and support next: 

  • Help relieve communal workers (day school faculty, human service agency personnel, clergy, etc) hit by flooding balance their work and personal crises
  • Repair major communal facilities that have experience major damage including the JCC, Seven Acres nursing home, Beth Yeshurun day school, Torch and three synagogues.  
  • Offer mental health support to families that have now been flooded two or three times in less than three years
  • Assist victims who have been displaced and require temporary housing, transportation, legal services, etc.  

Jerry Silverman

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