UJA-Federation is committing up to $10 million to its Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund for immediate assistance to organizations and people harmed by the record-breaking storm that battered the East Coast last week. It is the organization's largest relief effort to date for a natural disaster.
The charity has already allocated $200,000 to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty for immediate food and security needs for its clients and Jewish community councils.
A specially formed committee will decide beneficiaries of the fund, the organization's board agreed Sunday night. One hundred percent of proceeds will go to the needy with UJA-Federation, which raised $45 million at its recent campaign kickoff event, absorbing administrative costs.
"As we hear wrenching firsthand accounts from those experiencing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it is clear that the recovery will be long and challenging. Millions of lives have been affected in our region," said Jerry Levin, president, Alisa Doctoroff, chair of the board, and John Ruskay, CEO and vice president of UJA-Federation in a statement.
"The emotional and economic impact, especially on the isolated elderly and the poor, is acute and will remain so for a long time."
As of Monday morning, about $150,000 has been raised from online donors.
UJA-Federation said its agencies and beneficiaries are opening their doors to face challenges posed by the storm, including:
- The Jewish Home Life Care and Parker Jewish Institute for Healthcare and Rehabilitation, which took in patients who had to be evacuated from other hospitals and nursing homes;
- The Educational Alliance and Met Council, which have employees going door to door to check on at-risk seniors and others in the communitywithout power and trapped because of limited mobility.
- Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester, which is serving as a community shelter at night for those who need it, as most members of the community are without power.
UJA-Federation is hoping that donations and allocations from other agencies, including the Jewish Federations of North America, will replace some of the funds it has committed. Donations can be sent by mail to UJA-Federation of New York/ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund P.O. Box 4227 New York, NY 10261-4227, or made online at the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
Officials said the fund would likely rival in scope the relief efforts mounted after 9/11, the 2006 war damage in Northern Israel and the Connect To Care funding to help those affected by the economic downturn beginning in 2008.
Click here for Hurricane Sandy volunteer opportunities.