Galveston, Texas (January 2010) Cedar Rapids, Iowa (August 2009)
Galveston, Texas

Dear Friends, These past two weeks, Jewish Disaster Response Corps (JDRC) volunteers worked in Galveston, Texas to assist in the ongoing recovery effort following Hurricane Ike. We brought 30 students who spent their vacation volunteering with us.

We worked with One Mission Galveston, the largest recovery effort in the city. We hung sheet rock, painted houses, helped individuals move back into their homes, and more.

I would like to thank the local Jewish community for their warm welcome. They housed us, fed us, and helped us navigate the local area and community. I would like to especially thank Melissa Tabin of the Jewish Family Services who helped in more ways than I can list.

The destruction we saw was devastating. A year and a half after the storm, the city has barely begun to rebuild. The JDRC will be traveling back to Galveston in March to build upon the work of our January mission.

I would like to thank everyone who helped make this trip a success: those who came on the trip, those who helped with planning, and those who supported the trip financially and logistically. Thank you all, or as they say in Texas, y'all, for your help and support for the JDRC.

Elie Lowenfeld

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This past week (August 9-14) the JDRC worked with Americorps/Vista to assist in the ongoing recovery efforts following last summer's record flooding. Our volunteers helped in the gutting process-- removing debris from a local store in the downtown area-- and in rebuilding projects which involved hanging sheetrock in houses being rebuilt and priming for painting a historic loft building that serves as a civic art center.

We worked and ate with volunteers from all over the country and were warmly welcomed by all the locals we met.

A lot has been accomplished since last summer, but sadly much work remains to be done. Over 2,200 homes that were damaged in the flood are still uninhabitable and there are still many vacant store fronts in the downtown. The JDRC is proud of what we have contributed and anticipates doing more work in the future.

Thank you to all those who participated and who help in planning and financing our efforts. Photos from the trip can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Elie Lowenfeld