Helping the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas as they face the epic devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey.The storm that unleashed approximately 27 trillion gallons — or a record 51 inches — of rain on Texas and Louisiana left 50 people dead (a figure that is expected to increase), thousands of residents displaced and billions of dollars’ worth of property destroyed.

Rescue by Texas Army National Guardsmen. Photo: Lt. Zachary West.

While hatred and evil were on display a mere few weeks ago in Charlottesville, the best of humanity has shown itself during the response to Harvey. From the brothers who drove from Dallas to participate in multiple dangerous rescue efforts to the human chains spontaneously created for saving others to the local Pizza Hut that delivered pizzas by boat to people in need of food, selfless acts of courage have abounded during the tragedy in Texas.

For those still seeking a way to help the victims of Harvey, we have compiled the following list of Jewish organizations engaged in Harvey relief efforts: [Read more…]

MLK Jr. Day of Service at TBH-BE

To honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El will hold a day of service on MLK Day. From 10 a.m. to noon, the program will be geared to families with young children, and will include activities such as making get-well cards for members of the community, making TLC bags for hospitalized children, making Purim decorations for senior centers and engaging in a variety of other educational activities and service projects.

The afternoon projects will have a culinary focus: from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., volunteers will be preparing meals for seniors, as well as making sandwiches and soup for those in need.

Leading up to MLK Day, there will also be a toiletry collection taking place at the synagogue.

Find out more and register here to participate in any of these activities. The link also provides information about the opportunity to volunteer on January 15 at the Jewish Relief Agency (JRA).

Help Those Affected By Hurricane Sandy With The JRA

The Jewish Relief Agency is partnering with Jewish Family Services of Margate to collect the most urgently needed items for families displaced by hurricane Sandy.  These items are:

  • Canned Meals
  • Soups
  • Mac n Cheese
  • Pasta
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Shelf Stable Milk (like Parmalat)
  • Diapers, Formula, and Wipes

Please drop off these items at the JRA warehouse (10980 Dutton Rd., Philadelphia PA 19154) on November 11 from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM.  Volunteers are needed to drive the supplies to JFS in Margate.  For more information please visit the JRAid website.  

JRAid helps people in need

— by John O. Mason

JRAid is a new program of the Jewish Relief Agency (JRA), the food distribution program founded by Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, of the Chabad Hasidim.

JRA Director Amy Krulik describes JRAid as

A brand new program…launched on September 18, 2011. The goal of the program is for our JRA volunteers to provide additional assistance and support to people in the community. It’s a way to go beyond just providing food support, but to help people with everyday tasks, (such as) changing light bulbs, doing minor home repairs, providing rides to the doctor, (making) friendly phone calls or friendly visits to home bound seniors, really trying to fill in the pieces, primarily for people who don’t have family or support networks in the area.

More after the jump.

Krulik adds:

The cool thing about JRAid is that it’s an online marketplace (for volunteers). As a volunteer, you register as a volunteer with JRAid, you tell us what you’re interested in doing, when and where you’re available to do it, and you sit back and wait for the system to come to you. You don’t have to search through endless lists of volunteer opportunities, our system does all the work for you. When a volunteer opportunity that matches your preference comes into the hopper, we send you an e-mail or a phone call, ‘It’s a match,’ and you can see whether or not you’re available to take advantage of the volunteer opportunity.

JRAid has on its list a number of families, adds Krulik, who have been struggling financially;

We’ve worked with a few organizations, and directly with some families, for us to get volunteers, and we’ve mostly brought gifts for the holidays for those families, (such as) winter coats, hats and gloves and pajamas, games and DVDs, things to help the families be able to celebrate the holidays in a meaningful way with each other.

Krulik says that JRAid also has a “snow patrol,” meaning, “There are people who are psyched up to go out to somebody’s house and help them clear their sidewalks and steps.”  

JRA Special Food Distribution in Honor of Victims of 9/11

— by Amy Krulik
Senator Arlen Specter will keynote this National Day of Service Event

The Jewish Relief Agency (JRA) will hold its monthly September food distribution on Sunday, September 11th, 2011 as part of the National Day of Service to recognize the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Senator Arlen Spector will give the keynote address and will be joined by area civic and political leaders.  Volunteers from throughout the 5-county Philadelphia area, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware will join together to pack and deliver food to struggling families throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.

More after the jump.
Over 850 volunteers of all ages and abilities are needed to help pack and deliver over 3,000 boxes of fresh produce and non-perishable pantry items. Volunteers will meet at the JRA warehouse at 10:00 AM to pack food until about 11:30 AM. Most deliveries take about 30-45 minutes to complete. The JRA warehouse is located at 10980 Dutton Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154. Refreshments, including bagels and coffee, will be provided to all volunteers. A playroom is provided for our youngest volunteers should they need a break from the excitement of the warehouse.

“The tenth anniversary of 9/11 reminds us of the importance of volunteering and how it makes a difference in the lives of our fellow neighbors,” notes JRA’s Executive Director Amy Krulik. “We are so thankful for the dedication of all our volunteers who help our recipient families and work tirelessly to end the problems of hunger and food insecurity facing far too many people in our community.”

Families, individuals, organizations, and companies interested in volunteering on Sunday, September 11th, or at any of our monthly distributions, should email [email protected] or call 610-660-0190.

Detailed directions to the warehouse can be found on the JRA website. For more information about JRA and a complete list of upcoming distribution dates, please visit, email [email protected], or call 610-660-0190.

JRA is a dynamic, volunteer-driven organization whose goal is to help families and individuals struggling with food insecurity. Since it’s founding in 2000, JRA has been bringing volunteers together in the spirit of community and repairing the world. Through the efforts of JRA’s community of more than 12,000 volunteers, we are able to provide food relief packages to nearly 3,000 low-income families throughout the Greater Philadelphia area each month.  JRA is the largest hunger relief agency serving the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community and the third largest direct service food pantry in the region.  For more information about JRA, please contact Amy Krulik at 610-660-0190 or [email protected]