UJA Home Volunteer Site


Natural disasters, terror, violence, and hatred shatter millions of lives each year. Since 2005, UJA has invested $80.2 million to bring urgent relief to those on the ground and aid long term recovery. Our essential relationships with hundreds of nonprofits worldwide make us agile and ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice.


Responding to the 2017 Natural Disasters

Hurricanes Irma and Maria have taken a terrible toll on the people of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Millions are living without power, struggling with flooding, and suffering with medical needs. In Mexico, the recent earthquakes have caused unfathomable hardship and loss. And Hurricane Harvey left a path of destruction in Texas, while Florida copes with the aftermath of Irma.

  • To meet the needs of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, UJA has secured urgently needed medicine, including tetanus vaccines and insulin, as well as 200 generators to help with power outages. We’re working with the New York community and political leaders, together with our local partners, to facilitate delivery and identify other critical needs.
  • In Mexico, our partners are providing search, rescue, and recovery support, and evaluating additional needs.
  • In Houston, Beaumont, Galveston, Port Arthur, as well as in Florida — with our partners on the ground — we're assisting with ongoing flood recovery, including providing medical and pharmaceutical supplies and kosher meals.

Your support makes all the difference. Donate now to our Disaster Relief Fund.

Hurricane Harvey

The Facts:

Hurricane Harvey — one of the most devastating hurricanes on record in U.S. history — delivered its worst blows to Houston’s Jewish community.

Of the 51,000 Jews who live in Houston:

  • 71% live in areas affected by flooding
  • 1,000 people have been displaced from their homes
  • 14% of Jewish day school students and 20% of day school staff have confirmed flooding
  • 6 major Houston Jewish institutions have suffered catastrophic flood damage, including three of the largest synagogues and a day school
  • Seven Acres, with one of the largest Alzheimer’s care units in the country, experienced complete flooding on its first floor. Residents had to be relocated

Our Response:

UJA already provided $500,000 to support both short- and long-term needs, including:

Immediate needs:

  • Emergency cash assistance, provided through Jewish Family Service of Houston (JFS)
  • Relocation of Jewish educational institutions, specifically the JCC day care and early childcare programs, and a day school, affecting 500 children
  • Loans for reconstituting homes and small businesses, in conjunction with the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Houston and the Hebrew Free Loan Societies of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Ohio
  • Support for a temporary day camp, which provides a structured daily program and meals for 350 children, allowing parents to focus on cleaning up and rebuilding their lives
  • Mental health support, in the form of a “warm line” of social workers from across the country who are available to speak by phone with Houston residents
  • Deployment and coordination of volunteers for home “muck outs,” being coordinated through JFS and the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
  • Collection and delivery of much-needed medical, personal hygiene, and cleaning supplies to the Houston area in partnership with the Afya Foundation
  • Ensuring High Holiday services for congregations with damaged synagogues

Short- and long-term recovery:

  • Financial support so struggling families can get assistance to pay for Jewish day schools and preschools
  • Trauma services for people who are dealing with the psychological fallout of the hurricane and aftermath
  • Continued volunteer services to support recovery efforts
  • Major reconstruction support to supplement costs beyond FEMA/insurance coverage and deductibles for eight heavily impacted institutions

Read reports from our experts who were on the ground in Houston here, here, and here.


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