BURNSVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — NECHAMA, a Jewish relief organization in Burnsville, is preparing to send people and supplies to the Carolinas in response to Hurricane Florence.
NECHAMA fixes people’s houses. They call it “muck-and-gut.” Crews go into a home damaged by flooding, pump out all the water from the basement, and if the home is completely damaged by flooding, they strip it to the studs. When everything is dry, they go back into the home and put up insulation and sheetrock.
The director of NECHAMA, David Kaplan, said they help people who need it most.
“NECHAMA focuses on what we call ‘at-risk communities,’” Kaplan said. “Those are elderly households, households with young children, households with disabled individuals within it, and almost entirely we focus on low and lower income communities.”
Kaplan added, “We don’t charge individuals to do it, we leverage donations from supporters and individuals; we leverage volunteers.”
The team is able to fix the houses at far lower costs than private companies and are able to get it done in a day.
The crews will fix about 21 homes a week in the aftermath of Florence.
NECHAMA also does a lot of debris removal, so it’s bringing along chainsaws to help clean up downed trees.
Kaplan said they couldn’t do any of this work without a diverse group of volunteers.
“Our mission is Tikkun Olam, which in Hebrew, translates to ‘repairing the world,’” Kaplan said. “For us, that’s what we focus on. We believe that we are an opportunity to bring people together to be a melting pot of volunteers who want to repair the world. Because it doesn’t matter what your religion, or you’re not religious. We all believe in the same thing, which is making the world a better place. Do right by our neighbors.”
In order to volunteer, you have to be at least 14.
The organization will give you free food and housing as long as you can get yourself down to the site, and you’re free to choose how long you’d like to stay and help.
If you’re interested in volunteering, you can fill out this form.
For more information about NECHAMA’s response to Hurricane Florence, visit their website.