Jewish community works with other faith groups to raise over $100K for flood victims


In a matter of days, the Jewish community across Metro Vancouver has rallied together and raised more than $100,000 to help British Columbians impacted by recent floods.

Ezra Shanken, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, says ever since devastating floods hit the province last week, members of the community were fast to offer their support, with donations  pouring in. He says he and his team are “incredibly excited” about the response they have seen so far from hundreds of individual donors.

“Not just here, but outside of the province, people have latched on to the ask to come and try to make a difference in the lives of those who have been impacted by this terrible weather event,” Shanken says.

By Friday, $75,000 had been raised. That number jumped to over $100,000 by Sunday.

“We expect it to grow over the next few days because many of our sister federations across North America are putting notes in front of their boards to help with this effort so we expect more money to come in so it’s quite exciting,” he adds. “I think people just want to do something and we all feel this intense need to do something when we see this type of devastation and the impacts it has on individuals. I’ve been really moved by how people were clamoring to get resources, pool together so we could attack those needs aggressively.”

Shanken says some of the work done by other faith groups have also resonated and prompted them to work together to help those in need.

“I think in many ways we inspire each other. I know I was inspired by the work of the Sikh community. I really threw down the gauntlet for our team and said let’s keep up with these guys because they are doing an amazing job. It’s quite extraordinary what our friends in that community have been doing,” Shanken says. “Our staff met with them Friday to see where we can help, we were inspired to see what that community has done. We’re just trying to do what we can — to help build this bridge and figure out what we can do together.”

In addition to collecting donations, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver has made over 100 phone calls to Jewish families in the region to make sure they’re okay.

“We’ve been using every tool in our toolbox to try to assess need and address need as we move through this period,” he says. “Even before we knew what the needs were, people were clamoring to get resources pooled together so that when those needs arose, we would be able to attack that very aggressively.”

The donations will go to various community foundations and impacted areas. They can be made through the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver website.

“We want to make sure every dollar goes as far as it can,” explains Shanken. “We would imagine some of it will be used in the interfaith intercultural space, working with people like the Sikh community to help them do even more than they are doing now,” he says. “Others are yet to be decided, we are working with other communities right now to try and understand the best way to help them.”

“We take this as we take anything. We want to be conscientious about this, we want to make sure every dollar goes as far as it can. We are vetting the best opportunities, get out there and make the most impact.”

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