JFS’ Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund will benefit from 2018 annual Chili Cook-off

Jewish Family Services’ Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund will be the beneficiary of the annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off, which is celebrating its 25th year.
The festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 18, at Tiferet Israel, 10909 Hillcrest in Dallas. The event has grown every year in the past quarter-century.
Since 1994, the Cook-off has made donations to 55 nonprofit agencies.
“The Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off selected Hurricane Harvey Relief as the sole sharing charity last September because the Cook-off committee wanted to provide financial support to those in need and to remind everyone, six months after the hurricane hit, that the need for help still exists in Houston and will continue for some time,” Cook-off Co-chair Ed Jerome said.
As soon as Hurricane Harvey made landfall, JFS staff started working with community partners such as the city of Dallas and the American Red Cross to understand the need locally for evacuees, as well as what resources could be directed to our partners on the ground in the areas hit by the devastation.
JFS volunteers, donors and lay leaders purchased, donated, sorted, boxed up and sent thousands of clothing items, housewares, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and other basic necessities to families who lost everything in Houston and South Texas. JFS sent seven trailers of supplies to those hard hit areas.
JFS staff provided crisis intervention and counseling services to clients temporarily dislocated by the storm. They offered short-term assistance such as case management, emergency food, clothing, hygiene products, medication assistance and financial assistance. For those individuals staying long-term in Dallas, JFS’ entire continuum of wrap-around care was offered in order to help them get back on their feet.
The JFS team was also called upon by JFS Houston to provide additional support at their office for those families that stayed in the area.
None of this would have been possible without the power of the Dallas Jewish community, notably the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, which coordinated many local efforts, underwrote serving 50,000 kosher meals to Houston’s Jewish community and transported donations in an 18-wheeler. The Aaron Family JCC served as a hub for dropping off donations and helped the Federation get them to Houston. Dallas Kosher and kosher caterers Simcha Kosher Catering, Taste of the World and Texas Kosher BBQ prepared, transported and served the 50,000 kosher meals. Area synagogues, organizations and day schools mobilized their forces as well to collect donations to send to Houston and volunteer in local shelters. It was a community effort. The outpouring of support for the JFS Harvey Relief efforts was beyond anything imaginable.
Houston’s problems are still not resolved. Over 70 percent of the Jewish community, homes, synagogues, schools, senior center and the Jewish Community Center were affected. Many of these structures are still unusable.
“Regardless of how hot anyone’s chili recipe may be, it warms my heart even more to see our community coming together in unity and friendship sharing a common goal like the Kosher Chili Cook-off and helping local charities,” Tiferet Israel Rabbi Shawn Zell said.
Also as part of the event, Jewish Family Service, Tiferet Israel and its neighbor, Royal Lane Baptist Church, will conduct a food drive supporting the North Texas Food Bank at Jewish Family Service. Bring canned goods and other non-perishable items to the Cook-off.

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