Update #2: Israel Emergency Grassroots Response Initiative
The magnitude and rippling effects of the emergency necessitate multiple drivers of impact. Trusted grassroots partners assuming major responsive roles must pivot to address emerging needs. The Israel Emergency Grassroots Response Initiative connects resources with these first responders. We regularly share priority needs informed by leaders on the ground so you can learn and pivot your response through the Initiative.
This week we’re highlighting the following needs (read details below):
- Support for “Invisible Evacuees”
- Food Distribution and Rescue
- Families of Reservists
- Releasing the Hostages – a top priority until all are released.
This Week’s Focus Areas in Detail:
1. Support for Evacuated Families, Especially “Invisible Evacuees”
More than 200,000 people have been evacuated from the South and the North. More than half struggled to make ends meet before this crisis. In many cases they had no time to plan or gather sufficient supplies. Plans for their housing are either only partially covered or not at all covered by the government. In most cases, evacuees must front significant funds. Many are being resettled in Eilat, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea region. Some are being placed in hotels and while they have significant needs, especially for the cost of housing, services are starting to take shape organized by volunteers. Thousands of others—in Jerusalem estimated as many as 10,000 to 15,000–are dispersed across neighborhoods and with limited access to support. These numbers will increase substantially if a more extensive front develops in the north. It is critical to provide support to neighborhood community centers and local community organizers for services such as:
- childcare respite and support.
- help connecting with employment and income generation.
- critical supplies such as medicine and clothing.
- pop-up food stands.
- connections with neighborhood resources.
- neighbor-to-neighbor adopt a family pairing programs.
2. Food Distribution and Rescue
Food needs in Israel are exponentially increasing with three crises converging. First, more than half the farms are in the south of the country, much of which is currently inaccessible or labor is unavailable. Second, thousands of people have suddenly lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. Third, in addition to the growing needs of the vulnerable populations, evacuees and members of the IDF now have greater food needs.
Grassroots initiatives are addressing ramped-up food rescue which is critical as thousands of tons of food—mostly produce and perishable products with expiration dates—are being thrown away amidst extensive need and displacement. These initiatives draw on local knowledge to streamline local food distribution systems and leverage local relationships with vendors and others. Many of the larger organizations supporting food security are full and cannot assist new families, including extensive needs of evacuees. Grassroots food rescue and accessibility supported by the Initiative includes:
- building capacity to rescue tons of food through logistics coordination and volunteer support.
- local pop-up food markets.
- delivery and transportation of rescued food to cooking and food preparation activities and communal centers and bases.
3. Families of Reservists
With more than 350,000 reservists and soldiers deployed, many families are finding themselves suddenly without a parent or key family member. This places extreme stress on the spouse to balance childcare, household duties, financial struggles, and more all while enduring fears about their family member at war. There has been little attention paid to suddenly single-parent families. Emerging grassroots efforts supported by the Initiative provide direct support including childcare respite, help with chores, activity kits, listening sessions, and other tools for coping. These are highly personalized, localized, and generally best deployed at a neighborhood level, through community centers or through special pairings. Examples of support services for families of reservists are:
- special kits for children’s activities.
- therapeutic play and other supports for children to cope with these very stressful situations.
- support groups and nights out for the parent at home.
- childcare respite.
- family matching services.
4. Releasing the Hostages
We will continue to include efforts to release the hostages as a top priority area in every communication until they are released. Advocating for them and telling their stories is the most important thing we can all do. More than 1,500 volunteers, including top security, medicine, media, and legal experts, are working together to push for the release of 239 hostages and to support their families. This requires a tremendous amount of advocacy to influence global opinion and especially the countries that have any kind of relations with Hamas, financial support and psychological assistance for family members, worldwide media and PR campaigns, organizing events and activities to maintain global awareness, and more.
Pidyon shvuyim (releasing the captive) is one of the most important mitzvot, commandments, in Jewish tradition. Support is needed for this critical effort. Please visit and share this site with the individual stories of each person who has been kidnapped.
Make an unrestricted gift to address the highest-priority needs or give for a specific area.
These are urgent needs. Every dollar raised will be forwarded and advanced by the Initiative to provide immediate support.
Please notify us of contributions so we can advance the funds.