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UJC LAUNCHES EMERGENCY FUND TO HELP COMMUNITIES IN THE CENTRAL U.S.

 

June 19, 2008

United Jewish Communities/the Federations of North America today launched a relief effort for victims of natural disasters, including floods and tornadoes, that have wreaked havoc in the central United States since mid-May. To donate, please click here.

The UJC Central U.S. Disaster Relief Fund -- which will include a mailbox for accepting checks and an online donation form -- will help victims in the Jewish and general populations, with funds going to local communities that have been affected by natural disasters. No administrative costs will be deducted from funds raised.

To date flooding caused by storms and tornadoes has ravaged states including Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi and Wisconsin. UJC staff is working with federations and the UJC Network of Independent Communities to assess the impact on members of the community and on property. UJC continues to collaborate with federations and their constituent agencies such as Hillel, Jewish Community Relations Councils, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Community Centers and a variety of religious movements to monitor the situation, determine new and emerging needs and the appropriate response.  As a member of NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster,) UJC continues to monitor the needs of the general community.

In addition to coordinating this continental relief effort, UJC is also encouraging local federations to open their own emergency mailboxes and raise funds directly in order to more closely track their donors, with the understanding that these funds will be forwarded for distribution by the UJC Emergency Committee.

Fred Zimmerman, of Nashville, chair of the UJC Emergency Committee, said UJC has provided critical relief for a wide range of disasters and tragedies, from September 11 to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, wildfires and storms -- in addition to its ongoing work on behalf of the Jewish people worldwide.

"We're all heartsick at the devastation, and we want everyone affected to know that just as this part of the country helps sustain us, we're going to help sustain them through these disasters." Zimmerman said.

The UJC/Federation system raised than $10 million in response to the Southeast Asia tsunami, which helped the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee deliver critical assistance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, UJC/Federation raised more than $28 million to help the Jewish and general communities rebuild.

"Those of us not affected are the lucky ones. All we can do is pray for the victims and serve as a vehicle to convene those individuals who want to help by making contributions. Our expertise has enabled us to be responsive on a continental level on so many such occasions lately. We wish the facts were otherwise." added UJC's President and CEO Howard Rieger.

To support the UJC Central U.S. Relief Fund, please click here. If your federation needs a Web banner or other flood-related images to promote the fund to your community Web site and you are a UJCweb client, you can access the images via the central asset library; the images may also be accessed via UJC interoffice here.



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