Tropical Storm Erika formed quickly in the Atlantic Ocean this past week and is on a direct collision course with Florida. Initially, Erika was forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by the time it would hit Florida, but it is now predicted to maintain its tropical storm status while it moves through the state.
Howard Feinberg, the lead staff at the time for the Jewish Federations of North America Emergency Relief Committee (Then called UJC) and his family took a vacation in August, 2006, to the Gulf Coast. This PDF is an email from Howard, sent on August 18, 2006, describing volunteering with NECHAMA - Jewish Response to Disaster. They spent several days gutting homes in Orleans East and Chalmette. The email also includes another email with photos that Howard sent to the daughter of a one a man named Calvin -- Howard and his family worked on Calvin's home in Orleans East.
The following article was written prior to Rabbi Prinz's and Rabbi Hurvitz's service trip to volunteer after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
"From December 17-22, 2006, Rabbi Prinz and Rabbi Hurvitz will be schlepping their sleeping bags, work boots and gloves to volunteer in the much needed clean up after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. During this vacation period, they will join the work of NECHAMA (“comfort” in Hebrew), the Jewish community's disaster response organization. Based in Minneapolis, since 1993 they have deployed hundreds of volunteers to help communities clean-up after floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Their mission is based on the Jewish value of ‘Tikkun Olam’ -- repairing the world through acts of goodness..."
Eric Isaacs spent six months with NECHAMA after Hurricane Katrina. He started in Mississippi as a volunteer and later was hired as a deployment manager to support operations in the New Orleans area. Eric’s background in firefighting, janitorial services, and photography was a match for the needs on the ground post Katrina. He applied his management and technical skills daily as well as picking up a camera to document the effort along the way.