Yesh Tikvah: There is Hope! How to Help Joplin’s Jewish Community

PHOTO CREDIT: Columbia Tribune

Wow, I am so humbled and awed by the positive reaction since I announced a few days ago the Stockpile Donation Drive on behalf of the survivors of the Joplin tornado.

I’ve known for a long time that KOAB readers rock! But this has really proved it to me!!! Thank you so much.

In a sea of sad news (see this Before & After of the tornado destruction in Joplin), I have one bit of very good news to share with you: Per Terry Wheeler, the board secretary of United Hebrew Congregation,

Everyone in the congregation is accounted for with no serious injuries, baruch HaShem, although several members lost their homes and all their possessions. Our synagogue building wasn’t damaged since it wasn’t in the path of the tornado.


KOAB is ready to start accepting your donations on behalf of Tornado Relief for the Joplin Jewish community and beyond. As you might remember, UHC has set up a distribution center at the Temple for its own members and for the greater Joplin community.

KOAB is partnering with Congregation Beth Israel Abraham & Voliner (my shul) and other area synagogues to accept your donations of the following most-needed personal care, baby care and other items (this list is directly from the UHC):

Note that you may donate both full-size and travel-size items, so check for all those sample-size freebies we get!

  • over-the-counter first aid supplies and medications, especially Ibuprofen / Advil
  • disposable diapers – all sizes
  • baby wipes
  • diaper rash cream
  • baby food – baby cereal, jarred food
  • baby formula – especially the ready-made kind (water in Joplin isn’t potable right now, so finding safe water to mix with formula can be a major issue)
  • baby bottles and nipples – new only, please
  • personal care items, such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other items you may have in your stockpile
  • pillows and blankets – new only, please
  • $10 gift cards to Walmart – While most of the big box stores in Joplin were destroyed by the tornado, there are two Walmarts still standing. Gift cards will be donated to UHC so that families may replace their belongings that were destroyed.


If you live in the Kansas City area, please bring your donations to:

Congregation Beth Israel Abraham & Voliner
BIAV is my synagogue and I am so honored by the partnership they’ve offered to KOAB & the Yesh Tivkah campaign. Special thanks goes to Rabbi Rockoff and shul President Andy Ernstein! Drop off your donations at:

9900 Antioch Road
Overland Park, KS

Congregation Beth Shalom ~ Summer Camp
There will be a donation center set up at Beth Shalom at the start of summer camp (June 6). A huge thank you to Judy Jacks Berman, Director of the Rose Family Early Childhood Center for her incredible support and enthusiasm for this campaign. Please drop off your donations at:

14200 Lamar Avenue
Overland Park, KS

I would love for this to be a community-wide effort, so if you are a member of another shul in town, please consider contacting your rabbi or synagogue leadership and asking them to serve as a collection point. I’ll be happy to pick up donations on a weekly basis and store them at a storage facility that BIAV has generously  made available for this campaign.

For the wider KOAB audience, please consider shipping any of the above items to:

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

Be sure to mark your package JOPLIN. I know that shipping is expensive, so you might want to take advantage of the USPS’s flat-rate “if it fits, it ships” packages.

You can also send Walmart gift cards to the above BIAV address – again, please mark your envelopes JOPLIN.


There are numerous organizations on the ground in Joplin, accepting donations for disaster relief. See a full listing here.

You can also send donations directly to the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism)’s Disaster Relief Fund, which – when your donation is earmarked for JOPLIN – will be donated directly to the UHC community.

Congregation BIAV is also accepting donations on behalf of Yesh Tivkah and the Joplin Jewish community. Make your (tax-deductible) check payable to:

Congregation BIAV
9900 Antioch Road
Overland Park, KS 66212

Be sure to mark your check for JOPLIN so that 100% of the funds will be donated to Joplin disaster relief.

On Sunday, June 19, my family and I will be driving down all of the donations to United Hebrew Congregation in Joplin, MO.

We have a min-van – but I’m really hoping that we’ll have to rent a U-Haul to fit all your donations! Please give as generously as your stockpile will allow.

Thank you all! Tizku l’Mitzvot!!!


  1. Sheryl Porter says

    I have a crib that I would be glad to donate if you think it would be helpful.

Leave a Comment