In wake of Tornado, JFS ready to serve
‘We can serve as the hub,’ says JFS official

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Executive Director Cathy Barker intends for Jewish Family Service to be the hub as Dallas community members, Jewish and non-Jewish, assess the damage, rebuild and recover from Sunday’s storm. The Jewish community sustained significant damage from the EF3 tornado.

Although closed for Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, JFS has already begun to field emergency calls.

“As you can imagine, Most people do not recognize or have an idea what their needs are at this point,” Barker said. “What we’ve found is that people are reaching out to us and referring to us in a variety of ways regarding what sort of resources are needed. It’s those very unique things like, ‘My child is struggling with we can’t be in our home, and they don’t have a school to go to and so how do I talk to them?’”

As a member of Dallas County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), JFS meets monthly with all the key nonprofits including Salvation Army and the ones on the scene. They get regular updates and communicate those to stakeholders.

Also, JFS has been in touch with Jewish Family Service in Houston. Because of its experience with Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Houston JFS has valuable wisdom to pass along.

JFS plans to post live updates of resources available and has a landing page “Dallas Tornado Resources” on its website Clicking on “Dallas Tornado Resources” will lead folks to both JFS resources and other community resources that are available.

JFS anticipates that as the next several days unfold, they will need additional volunteers to do welfare phone checks, work in the food pantry and deliver kosher meals. It is likely that some of their regular volunteers have been affected by the storm.

The volunteer opportunities can be accessed at the bottom of the tornado resources page or by clicking the volunteer tab at the top of the webpage.

If new to JFS it’s necessary to fill out an application. If you are already a volunteer, available shifts will be posted.

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