David, Laura, and Jonathan Merage and Sabrina and Shawn Naim express profound solidarity with the people of Israel in the face of this unprecedented act of terrorism and violence against our Jewish brethren. We are deeply dismayed and saddened by these tragic acts and remain steadfast in support of Israel. Our organizations, alongside our valued partners both locally and abroad, are working tirelessly to address the urgent humanitarian crisis.
The David and Laura Merage Foundation, Jonathan Merage Foundation, Sabrina Merage Foundation, and a group of other generous donors have linked arms with JEWISHcolorado to launch a robust emergency fundraising initiative. We know many of you are feeling overwhelmed by the situation and uncertain of where to direct your dollars. We are confident that a donation to JEWISHcolorado designated to Merage Foundation Israel (MFI) is a good use of your funds. When making your donation, you may specify in the comment section that you wish for your contribution to go directly to MFI.
MFI has many decades of experience supporting welfare and economic development in the southern region of Israel. During this harrowing time, the MFI team’s professional and lived experience makes them uniquely positioned to ensure funds are directed to those most in need.
To learn more about Merage Foundation Israel’s emergency relief efforts, read below.
The situation in Israel is very complex and we are trying to provide the most urgent humanitarian aid to those who have been affected by this horrific act of violence. Merage Foundation Israel (MFI) will be administering a portfolio of emergency response initiatives that combine support to local municipalities and direct funding to grassroots organizations on the ground. In the future, we will assess the need to recover and rebuild. At this moment, however, the funding will be utilized for urgent humanitarian aid that includes medical support, clothing, food, housing, and psychological help.
MFI has already begun to provide necessary funding to grassroots organizations and municipalities in need of our support. The situation is dynamic and needs are evolving on a daily basis. Below is the initial list of municipalities and organizations that have received funding or are in need of funding:
- Ramat Hanegev, a region in the Negev desert, is currently taking in hundreds of refugees from the Gaza envelop who require housing and basic needs.
- Sderot: This western Negev city was devastated by the terrorist attacks. The city is working to evacuate its most vulnerable populations, meet the basic needs of residents sheltering in place, and provide personal protective equipment for first responders. The city of approximately 30,000 currently has no water, electricity, or access to food.
- Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol are rural communities and among the areas most affected. Funding will assist humanitarian aid for hundreds of displaced families and survivors.
- Soroka Hospital is providing dire medical care to the thousands of critically injured individuals who are flocking there. The hospital is in need of immediate funds for life-saving equipment.
- Retorno is an outstanding mental health organization that specializes in young people at risk. Operated by Rabbi Eitan Eckstein, the center is creating a national plan to support survivors. With their significant expertise, the plan will target regions with high numbers of young survivors.
We are also working with entities on the ground to coordinate widespread support to the thousands of active reserve soldiers, ensuring they get the support they need. This includes food, clothing, flashlights, phone chargers, and other critical needs. Through the Pakal program, established by the Merage Foundation Israel in 2018, we are in direct contact with over 150 company commanders to ensure the resources and logistics are well coordinated.
Lastly, we are deploying mental health support to lone soldiers through our Wings program to ensure that lone soldiers have access to psychological help during these critical times.
Our team at MFI is keeping us apprised of the day-to-day humanitarian needs and the list will, no doubt, continue to grow. We are asking our community to join us now, during our most vulnerable time, to provide much-needed support to our Israeli community. Please reach out to Sue Renner, Executive Director of the David and Laura Merage Foundation, if you have any additional questions.