Heard Round WexWorld: Houston
Note from the Editor: While it is normally the policy of The Wexner Foundation to refrain from publicizing requests for donations, humanitarian disasters are a unique circumstance that require a different response, a stance validated by the feedback from our alumni across the world wanting to help. With that in mind, we share with you several eyewitness accounts from Houston, as well as a sampling of organizations connected to our network that are accepting donations. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston devotes their homepage to fast-breaking updates, as well as opportunities for donating money or goods and volunteering.
Awful. Just awful. Friend had to be rescued by helicopter from roof.
Thank God we are ok. No power and water got ridiculously close to front
door. No water in house. Water has receded. Street drivable but many
areas still under water. Lewis just asked me to Amazon Prime a kayak.
Still no power. Girls slept next door — they have a generator. Raining
again. This will be a long rebuilding for our community.
WHP Alum and WHP Alumni Council Delegate, Elyse Kalmans (Houston 06)
Totally fine. Lots of water accumulation in our area but nothing past the sidewalk on our street. We’ve been hostages in our house since Friday. We hope to get to a grocery store (if the streets are clear) tomorrow. Four tornado warning notices yesterday — all seven of us huddled under the stairs. Scary stuff. Lots of friends with no power and water in their homes. So sad. Thank you for checking on us. So far we are lucky and fine.
WHP Alum Audrey Fersten (Houston 06)
is a very difficult post because it will cause quite a bit of heartache
to an already devastated community. We are part of the close-knit
Houston Orthodox Jewish community with United Orthodox Synagogues as the
core of our neighborhood. Unfortunately, UOS suffered catastrophic
damage. It is like a knife to our collective heart. No matter the
damage, however, we will find a path forward to rebuild our homes, our
Shul and community. With the support and help of our broader community
and friends, we will make it happen. Please click here to donate to the 2017 Hurricane Harvey UOS Community Rebuilding Fund. Thanks
also to the OU @OrthodoxUnion (OU.org) that has been amazing, and to
all the many US and worldwide Jewish communities that have offered their
support and assistance. We, of course, are
not the only Houston Orthodox community that has been devastated — many
in the Meyerland Minyan, Chabad and Young Israel Community are reeling,
as are many other Jewish and other faith communities in Houston. We are
amazed at the speed and love generated by the US faith community that
has been mobilizing with fantastic speed — we are very thankful.
WHP Alum Robert Levy (Houston 06)
Thank you so much for reaching out to us. Greater Houston has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Outlying areas have been destroyed and many families for miles and miles have been uprooted from their homes and rescued to shelters all around the city. Last night, the rains were lighter but more rain is coming as the storm turns and comes through Houston, likely on the east side of the city. Personally, we’re fine, but Beth Israel took on water in the sanctuary, again! We need help and you can donate directly to us if you wish by clicking here. We need resources to help families put their homes and lives back together. Once we can reach Beth Israel, we’ll open up to feed and care for area neighbors, as long as we need. It will take funds and food. Houston Jewish Federation is accepting donations at their website www.houstonjewish.org, or checks can be sent to Beth Israel for flood relief and community meals.
No one is going home soon. No one is returning to their homes to resume life as it was, immediately. Thanks for your outreach. Stay in touch. This isn’t over yet.
“Gam Zeh Ya’avor,” this too shall pass. Houstonians are strong but flood-weary. Thank you so much.
WHP Alum David Scott (Houston 06)
Thanks for checking on us. Our family are all safe and dry, but it has been so sad seeing the devastation for so many people on TV and at the shelters. We have many friends who have been flooded, some for the first time. The Meyerland and surrounding neighborhoods where many in the Jewish community live are some of the many areas where literally thousands of homes have water in them, some as high as five feet or more. This is also where the JCC, Beth Israel, Beth Yeshurun and United Orthodox Synagogue are located, all of which have flooded. However, there is a lot of inspiration to be found in the tens of thousands of people who are coming out to volunteer and support those in need in our community.
WHP Alum Joe Kaplan (Houston)
I am a Wexner Heritage alum (SF Pro) currently living in New York and the President and CEO of Delivering Good, founded to respond to disasters, and distributing in excess of $1.6 billion of donated products to people in need since our founding in 1985. We have been developing a relief effort with trusted community partners on the ground in Houston. Everyone acknowledges that this will be a long recovery. Thanks to our generous donors, Delivering Good is collecting new fashion, home and children’s merchandise for the immediate needs, as well as the longer-term needs that will come over the next several months. So far, our product donations include BOBS from Skechers, Carter’s, Delta Children, Hanesbrands, IKEA, Perry Ellis and Burlington Stores, which is providing $100,000 in store gift cards to help residents replace their belongings.
Houston’s most pressing needs continue to be new apparel for men, women and children, underwear, socks, towels, sheets, blankets, comforters and pillows. If you are in the manufacturing business, please email me to discuss. In addition to the much-needed donations of new products for people affected by Hurricane Harvey, we appreciate financial donations to help support our response as well.
WHP Alum Lisa Gurwitch (SF Pro)
Together with our partner, the Hebrew Free Loan Association in Houston, The Hebrew Free Loan Association where I am Executive Director is giving interest-free loans to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Your gift will be lent directly to people who need it most. Because these are loans that will be repaid, they can be used again and again for disaster relief. Click here to donate. Thank you.
WGF Alum David Rosenn (Class 5)