In response to the major earthquake that struck El Salvador last week, a number of Jewish organizations and individuals are organizing relief efforts. Here’s a roundup of the efforts and how you can get involved.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is collecting relief funds on behalf of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The JDC is working with a coalition of Jewish organizations to meet the challenges of this crisis.
“While the Jewish community in San Salvador was spared any damage, many others were not as fortunate,” said Stephen D. Solender, United Jewish Communities (UJC) president and chief executive officer. “We cannot stand by silently while this tragedy unfolds in a neighboring country in Central America.”
The UJC President also praised the Israeli government for its humanitarian efforts to meet the situation in El Salvador. The Israeli response included a medical team to assist the victims of the earthquake as well as a shipment of medicines and medical supplies. “I’m proud that the Israeli government has responded, even as it continues to deal with its own crisis at home,” he said.
Donations for the JDC effort should be sent to Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, 2031 Third Ave, Seattle WA 98121. Checks should be payable to JDC–El Salvador Relief Effort. In addition, payments by credit card can be made on the federation’s Web site: www.jewishinseattle.org/giving.asp. Specify JDC-El-Salvador Relief on the pledge page.
The Anti-Defamation League is participating in the JDC campaign to raise money for the relief effort. According to Regional Director Brian Goldberg, El Salvador has been a great friend of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. “El Salvador is one of only two countries that has its embassy in Jerusalem and helped thousands of Jews fleeing Nazi Europe. ADL awarded President Franscisco Flores its Distinguished Statesman award in February 2000 for El Salvador’s friendship and courage,” Goldberg reported.
A local Jewish family with ties to Central America flew medical supplies to El Salvador this week. Joy Pocasangre reports that her husband, Ricardo, flew to El Salvador on Wednesday. He planned to meet with representatives of La Cordinadora Foundation for Self-Sufficiency and deliver the medical supplies he hand-carried to the country, ranging from over-the-counter medicines such as cold remedies to antibiotics.
B’nai B’rith International said it would present a check on Thursday for $5,000 to Rene A. Leon, ambassador of El Salvador, to aid earthquake relief efforts in that country. B’nai B’rith International President Richard D. Heideman said the organization has also already sent one shipment of medicine to El Salvador and plans to forward more donations as they come in.
B’nai B’rith is cooperating with the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Brother’s Brother Foundation (BBF) and the Salvadoran American Health Foundation in appealing for funds and medical supplies. Non-sectarian disaster relief efforts have been part of B’nai B’rith’s mission since it first collected aid for survivors of a flood in Baltimore in the mid-19th century.
Checks may be sent to Disaster Relief, Salvadoran Earthquake, B’nai B’rith International, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Donations also can be sent to BBF/El Salvador, 1501 Reedsdale, St., Suite 3005, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15233. Make credit card contributions by calling at 412-321-3160.