Temple Israel announced a drive to collect items for victims of Hurricane Harvey yesterday, teaming up with Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) to bring relief to people suffering in Houston.
Suozzi’s office began collecting donations on Tuesday, with donation boxes set up in his Huntington and Little Neck offices.
Representatives of Temple Israel said the idea of joining the effort was first raised in Chesed – or “acts of love and kindness” in Hebrew – Connection, a committee that seeks to get the congregation involved in help communities in need.
“There’s really never too much you can do,” Laura Gal, chairperson of Chesed Connection, said in an interview.
Hurricane Harvey struck Texas as a category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25 and twice after as a tropical storm, submerging the Houston area in 20 trillion gallons of rain and claiming at least 40 lives.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 364,000 people have registered for assistance with FEMA and nearly 34,000 people are in shelters across Texas. The Texas Division of Emergency Management, meanwhile, estimated that Harvey destroyed or damaged around 185,000 homes.
Gal noted that while local communities are often the best to respond to tragedies, many Houston residents lost everything. She said that, as a result, they hope for the same response they received when helping Superstorm Sandy victims in 2012.
“We’re hoping to raise a couple of truckloads,” Gal said.
An email blast sent out to Temple Israel members requested that they fill donation bins in their lobby with items like cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, first aid supplies, gift cards, non-perishable food and baby products. It also requested flashlights, batteries, blankets and toiletries.
“There are specific supplies and specific items that are needed, and Temple Israel is inviting the public and the membership to bring these items,” said Marc Katz, a spokesman for the temple.
These items will be sent to Suozzi’s office then trucked off from Long Beach to Texas. Temple Israel will be accepting supplies until Friday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m.