Update #3: 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 support through the Initiative.
This week we’re highlighting the following needs (read details below):
- Mental health support for first responders
- Second phase needs for evacuees
- Volunteer support
- Role of the Ultra Orthodox Charedi sector
- Releasing the Hostages – a top priority until all are released.
This Week’s Focus Areas in Detail:
1. Mental health support for first responders
First responders who witnessed horrific scenes on October 7 and in the following days need immediate intervention and support. These include medics, volunteers collecting dismembered human remains to painstakingly identify them, those who spontaneously ventured south to try to save lives on the 7th, and others. The Initiative will support quick-training efforts for social workers and other qualified professionals in a specific methodology for first responders.
2. Second phase needs for evacuees
Support for 225,000+ evacuees is pivoting from provisions to services: education, childcare, youth activities, flexible funds, and more. Formal educational frameworks including pop-up schools, special guidance for integration to neighborhood schools and a number of other supports including:
- Childcare for ages 0-3 has been almost absent but is now being organized in the context of early childhood best practice.
- High school students are particularly at risk due to inadequate curriculum in pop-up schools; depression and anxiety are prevalent.
- Youth service and empowerment programs are being developed with emphasis on resilience and fun.
Sports and other physical activity programs as well as volunteering and service opportunities are expanding.
Grassroots activists are arranging highly discounted vouchers and gift cards for evacuees to make their own purchases in supermarkets and pharmacies. This is a critical step to create revenue for businesses and return some autonomy and normalcy to evacuees who have mostly been receiving cooked foods and supply donations to date.
3. Volunteer support
Thousands of volunteers immediately threw themselves into helping, and the pace has been nonstop. Some have lost jobs, and university students don’t know when schools will reopen. Despite sustained desire to help, there is an understandable weariness in the face of this marathon. The Initiative is:
- providing modest stipends to volunteers
- supporting training programs
- sponsoring meals
- providing childcare respite
Volunteers have been and will continue to be critical to relief efforts. Even as certain services are taken on by larger organizations and local governments, they will be much-needed for some time. Plus, volunteering is beneficial to sustaining mental health.
4. Role of the Ultra Orthodox Charedi sector
Not only have unprecedented numbers of Charedim enlisted to the IDF since October 7, Charedi volunteers are performing civilian duties including sourcing and driving supplies and equipment, organizing food, providing major support and assistance to the bereaved and their families, leading collection of human remains for identification, and supporting the needs of the evacuees in highly personalized ways. This trend could bode well for greater long-term social cohesion in Israel and boost the economy with new sources of talent.
5. 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.