More than nearly $400,000 and one poem. That is the response of the American Jewry to the hurricane Mitch, which left 11,000 dead, 6,000 missing and 3,000,000 homeless in Central America.
National Jewish organizations report they have raised a total of $372,800 for relief efforts in the region in the two weeks since Mitch struck.
The largest amount, $259,800, has been collected by American Jewish World Service.
“There has just been an outpouring of support from the American Jewish community. It’s a lot of money in a short amount of time,” says Sharon Miller, executive vice president. “It’s really been phenomenal.”
The funds collected by Jewish organizations will go to medical supplies and reconstruction work in the affected countries, especially Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The total figure includes $50,000 from B’nai B’rith International, $43,000 from Central American Relief, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; and $25,000 from UAHC Disaster Relief.
Another Jewish organization, UJA Federations of North America, had not announced the results of its collection efforts this week.
In addition, Evelyn and Milt Gelman of Manhattan have collected about $10,000 for Comunidad Hebrea de Tegucigalpa, the Jewish community in the capital of Honduras. Their son Philip, a CARE executive, is president of the city’s Jewish community.
The couple also collected “12 large garbage bags of clothing” to be donated to 36 homeless Tegucigalpa residents “adopted” by the Jewish community, Evelyn Gelman said. “Jews [there] are reaching out to their less-fortunate brethren.”
And the poem?
American Jewish World Service received one check, accompanied by a typewritten poem, from an Albert Krassner.
The poem was entitled “Solo yo,” Spanish for only me. It told about a child orphaned by the hurricane.
The last verse:A survivor of the disaster hurricane Mitch had sown.
In this TV showing, its enormity became known.
This picture and the words one could hear, was shocking beyond all compare.
Thousands left homeless with nothing to wear.
The message — “Please do what you can, give all you can spare.”