Update on Yesh Tikvah Joplin Relief Campaign (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!)

This past weekend, my family and I took a quick little trip down to Houston. On the way back, our GPS us took us just a few miles from Joplin. We couldn’t NOT take a quick detour.

Although many areas are still closed, we drove through a small corner of the city. The devastation is truly mind-boggling. Nothing that we saw on the news could possibly have prepared us for the scene we saw.

Homes that weren’t completely flattened were missing roofs, garages, or whole floors. One house we saw looked as though it had been sawed in half – with the second half completely missing, flung off by the tornado to G-d knows where. Enormous oak trees were entirely uprooted. Formerly wooded lots looked like a collection of sheered toothpicks.

We also noticed a surprising number of homes completely unscathed. The road we were driving on curved to the right – where the tornado must have taken a left.

We were left wondering: How does a tornado “make its decisions”? Who shall be spared? And who shall loose home, limb and even life? The magnitude and randomness of nature’s destruction is impossible to reckon with.

Our sons were understandably mystified: “Why doesn’t Hashem stop the tornadoes? Why does He let bad things happen to people?”

I wish I knew.

I wish we never had to ask these questions.

And yet, in the face of so much destruction, sadness and unanswerable questions  – and not just in Joplin, of course (my heart goes out to those in Massachusetts… and anywhere bad things happen…) – there are bright spots of hope.

The Kansas City Federation, designated as the national hub for all Federation donations to Joplin, has already raised over $50,000 for tornado relief! If you would like to make a secure online donation through the Federation, you can do so here.

This morning, I stopped by my shul to sort through the donations that have been dropped off. Imagine my total delight – like TEARS IN MY EYES, I was so touched – when I walked into the office and saw three HUGE boxes, shipped by KOAB readers via Amazon.

Oh.my.goodness – you all are amazing! Filled to the brim with diapers, wipes, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, fruit leathers, and much more, these deliveries were absolutely incredible!

I don’t know which of my readers sent these, but THANK YOU so much. I have also had two readers email me to donate their Swagbucks codes, so we can purchase more critical need items – with free shipping from Amazon, of course! THANK YOU.

Also this morning, my wonderful friend Amy organized an incredible “scavenger hunt” for some of the kiddos in our neighborhood. A group of ten kids went door-to-door collecting canned goods, toiletries, household cleaners, baby supplies and more. What generous neighbors we have! The back of my van was packed!

The storage room where we are stockpiling these donations is already filling up. And so is my heart. I am so touched by everyone wanting to help.

Remember, if you want to drop off donations, you can do so at the following locations:

Congregation BIAV
9900 Antioch Road

Overland Park, KS

Congregation Beth Shalom (as of June 6)
14200 Lamar Avenue

Overland Park, KS

If you would like to ship donations, please send to:

Yesh Tivkah
c/o Congregation BIAV
9900 Antioch Road
Overland Park, KS 66212

For more information on what items are most critically needed, please see this post. Thank you again EVERYONE for your support, enthusiasm and desire to help!



  1. Words truly cannot describe the devastation.

    During my deployment I sat on the other side of the table from the “Donations Table”. I learned a few things listening to the bank of them fielding calls. They are overwhelmed with clothing – NO MORE CLOTHING IS NEEDED, nor is bottled Water.

    Cash is still needed. Organizations can use cash to buy items that are essential.

    The one thing my new friend Malcolm told me that is always needed but is never donated is Power Tools and construction Items. Not sure if anyone has a a new drill or table saw they want to donate, but that is where the cash donation is helpful. Power tools can be purchased with the cash you donate.

  2. Tziporah says

    Are you taking any donations at home? I have TONS of baby food jars and I am afraid they will break if left at shul. Maybe the week before you leave?

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