Update #5: Israel Emergency Grassroots Response Initiative

The Israel Emergency Grassroots Response Initiative (IEGRI) connects grassroots leaders addressing urgent needs on the ground with resources and support. More than three months have passed since the October 7 massacre in southern Israel and start of the war. Israel is now fighting on multiple fronts, including in Gaza and increasingly on the northern border.

This constant and active state of war and emergency at the same time as trying to reinstate routine as much as possible is like running a marathon while learning to walk. And grassroots efforts continue to imbue humanity and a recognition of the individual into huge systemic needs.

This week we’re highlighting the following needs (read details below):

  1. Needs of Evacuees from the North
  2. Mental Health
  3. Bereaved
  4. Economic Impact
  5. Rehab and Disability
  6. Releasing the Hostages – a top priority until all are released.

Please consider giving to address these needs and others identified by bottom-up changemakers.

This Week’s Focus Areas in Detail:

1. Needs of Evacuees from the North

More than 75,000 people have been evacuated from homes on the northern border. They are not encouraged to return, yet ineligible for the multi-month resettlement government grants that families from the south are starting to rightfully receive. Families of five or more are often crammed into one hotel room, not knowing when they can return home. Volunteer and grassroots efforts continue to be the primary resource for certain living expenses, educational needs, and warm personal support. Many more will be evacuated if the situation escalates substantially.

2. Mental Health

Living in a constant state of emergency while processing traumas since October 7 creates a unique set of needs, especially for civilians. This includes those who witnessed horrors, those displaced and uprooted, and those who feel constantly vulnerable to the same kind of terror. As citizens and mental health professionals meet these sensitive needs, all interventions must adhere to best practice. Grassroots efforts led by professionals with trauma experience as well as pilot partnerships between hospitals and colleges offer quick-training credentialing for professionals and accelerated guidance for peer-to-peer interventions.

3. Bereaved

There is less societal and individual attention on the the bereaved, especially those without built-in communities. Grassroots initiatives initially organized to support mourning rituals are helping families journey through a full year of painful milestones observed for the first time without lost family members. They also ensure citizens receive services and financial benefits by connecting with local authorities and welfare offices. One effort, Nachamu Ami, memorializes victims of October 7 and supports their families.

4. Economic Impact

The economic impact of the war is profound. Beyond the war’s direct costs, it’s resulted in millions in reservists’ lost income; hits to tourism, retail, and small businesses; and sudden cessation of venture capital to start-ups. While government and large systemic bodies must address these, grassroots mechanisms for cash advances, loans or small capacity grants to small business as well as financial and emotional support for reservist families are particularly effective at this critical time when existing savings (often 3-6 months) have been fully depleted.

5. Rehab and Disability

Almost 11,000 civilians and members of Israeli security forces have been wounded since October 7. Of the almost 7,000 IDF and other security personnel, about a third are permanently disabled. Many have suffered traumatic brain injury and an estimated one third of these injuries required amputations. Grassroots efforts supported by IEGRI are complementing inpatient rehab including small equipment for rescue and medic teams, at-home rehab equipment, peer support and mentoring programs with those who have also suffered similar disabilities, sports and training programs, and small caring gifts that make life even slightly easier.

6. Releasing the Hostages

Advocating for the hostages’ release 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 collaborating for the release of all hostages and to support their families. This requires advocacy to influence global opinion and the countries that have relations with Hamas, financial support and psychological assistance for family members, worldwide media and PR campaigns, 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. Please share this website with stories of each person in captivity.

Across the board, volunteers are experiencing burnout and exhaustion as the pace continues rapidly. As the initial outpouring of support and adrenaline wanes, IEGRI is paying special attention to volunteer stipends, opportunities for inspiration and care as well as strategic support and conversation on how and when to take small initiatives and projects beyond the pilot stage, criteria to assess, help with mergers and partnerships and other capacity building and coaching.

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. ​​

Details about persisting needs from past updates are linked below:

  1. Phase 1 support for evacuees, bereaved families
  2. Invisible evacuees, food distribution and rescue, families of reservists
  3. First responders, phase 2 for evacuees, volunteers, role of Ultra Orthodox
  4. Evacuees from the north, integration of evacuees, rehabilitation, community resilience, culture and humanity