Our hearts are heavy and minds filled with thoughts of the devastation in Texas this past week. The horrific stories and pictures are as equally gut wrenching as the stories of the heroism and kindness are inspiring.

The leadership of The Associated has tried to keep abreast of the situation with our partners at the Jewish Federations of North America and those in the affected regions. The situation continues to evolve as rescue efforts are still ongoing and community needs are still being determined.

Much information is available via the news and social media about the vast impact on families and communities across the impact areas. Through our relief efforts, we will help the all those affected by the Hurricane and want to provide a few highlights of how the Jewish community is faring and responding.

“The devastation is unimaginable.” The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston reports that 71 percent of the city’s Jewish population of 63,700 lives in areas that have experienced high flooding, including 12,000 Jewish seniors. The Federation staff and other Jewish professionals are working tirelessly to respond to community needs while managing flood damage in workplaces and in homes. The Federation and Jewish Family Service (JFS) facilities, as well as at least one large Orthodox synagogue, are flooded.

The Evelyn Rubinstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, the city’s only JCC, was under 10 feet of water. It reopened yesterday and will serve as the central address for the donation and distribution of aid and supplies. JFS case workers will be on location to assist individuals and households in need, and JFS is working with the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies to set up a counseling hotline, among other things.

Israel Rescue Coalition and the Israeli humanitarian group, IsrAID, have already deployed first responders to Texas. Local Jewish camps are housing refugees forced to evacuate their homes.

HOW YOU CAN HELP? The most important way to help is to make a donation to the many organizations providing relief and aiding in recover.

Thank you to the many generous donors who have already contributed to The Associated’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Our funds will be used for locating and relocating residents, and ensuring they have the basics: food, blankets, clothes, a satellite phone to reach their loved ones. In addition, funds will go toward renovations of organizations and homes – a tedious process, and we will partner with organizations like NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster. The actual rebuilding and renovating comes in the months ahead.

There is still time to make a donation and 100 percent of your donation will directly benefit the people and communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Your donation to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund is still needed as the recovery is just beginning. To make your donation, click here.

We have received many requests for providing in-kind goods to the affected regions. While the needs are still coming together and the ability for the emergency shelters to receive in-kind goods are still uncertain, there are a few in-kind ways to help: Click here to see the list of donation drives happening now.

Did you change someone’s life for the better today? Every supporter of The Associated did. ‘One act of generosity can resonate for generations’. To learn more  go to www.associated.org.

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