St. Louis Jewish community mobilizes to help after record flooding


Photo: Bill Motchan

Record rainfalls in the St. Louis region over the past week have caused disastrous flooding for St. Louis residents and local organizations. On Friday, the Jewish Fund for Human Needs (JFHN), a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC), and the St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association (STLRCA), responded to calls for help with flooding damage from two local organizations: The Little Bit Foundation and ArchCity Defenders.

“At JCRC, we recognize that all of us in the St. Louis region are interconnected,” said JCRC Executive Director Maharat Rori Picker Neiss. “In times of crisis like these, we’re grateful to have the financial resources of the JFHN to respond quickly to pressing needs. We deeply admire the work of the Little Bit Foundation and ArchCity Defenders and want to ensure they can return to their essential operations as quickly as possible.”

The Little Bit Foundation, a prior JFHN grant recipient, is committed to breaking down barriers to learning for students living in poverty through partnerships and programs that serve the needs of the whole child. Their aim is to empower students to achieve their academic goals and dreams for the future, while leaving an imprint of love and hope on young lives for whom a little bit means a lot.

“We are so grateful for this emergency assistance from the JFHN. The response was immediate,” said Miranda Walker Jones, Chief Executive Officer of The Little Bit Foundation. “Our role is to be a source of support for under-resourced schools and students, so this is a devastating setback just weeks before the start of the school year. But we are uplifted and encouraged by the love and generosity of our neighbors, who wholeheartedly support our mission and are always there when we need them.”

ArchCity Defenders  is a holistic legal advocacy organization that combats the criminalization of poverty and state violence, especially in communities of color. ACD’s foundation of civil and criminal legal representation, social services, impact litigation, policy and media advocacy, and community collaboration achieves and inspires justice and equitable outcomes for people throughout the St. Louis region and beyond.

“ArchCity Defenders is thankful for the emergency support provided by the JFHN, and those with the JCRC and the STLRCA who made it possible. Their donation, along with support from additional donors, enabled us to make crucial repairs within our office after sustaining impactful water damage,” said Joe Holt, Development Director at ArchCity Defenders.

“The JFHN was created specifically to be able to help the wider community in times of crisis,” says Rabbi Amy Feder, President of the STLRCA. “Moments like these are when we can really make an impact on the lives of others in need.  Both of these organizations can directly, thoughtfully, and skillfully serve those who were affected by last week’s flooding, and I can’t imagine a better way to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah than to help them in this critical work.”

Donations can be made to both organizations through their websites.

The Jewish Fund for Human Needs (JFHN) works to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah (the obligation to do righteous acts) by awarding small grants to non-Jewish social services agencies helping those in need throughout the St. Louis region.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC) works within the Jewish and broader communities in St. Louis to enhance cooperation with other religious, racial, and civic groups; foster a just, democratic, and pluralistic society; and promote the security of Israel and Jews everywhere. Guided by Jewish values, the JCRC advocates, educates, collaborates, and mobilizes action on issues important to the Jewish community.

The St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association is a forum for area rabbis and cantors to engage in learning, collegiality, and professional development. The association serves to teach and inspire the greater St. Louis Jewish community, embodying Jewish values and ideas through learning, tzedakah, community building, interfaith dialogue, and support for Israel.