Hurricane Irma, a category 4 hurricane, bombarded the entire State of Florida September 9-11, with home-ripping winds and extensive flooding. Despite difficult conditions, emergency officials are working to assess the damage that has already left hundreds of thousands of people without power or access to food and water, and has shut down municipal services, highways, schools and community institutions.


Hurricane Irma: Long-Term Power Outages Creating Health Risks for Seniors


Hurricane Irma’s unexpected shift to Florida’s west coast appears to have mostly spared our largest Jewish population centers from what could have been a terrible disaster. But long-term power outages in Florida’s hot and humid climate are raising serious health concerns, especially for many seniors. According to The New York Times, there have already been a number of deaths in nursing homes. Some areas of the state could be looking at 10 more days without electricity.


Help us help the victims of Hurricane Irma.


Donations to the Hurricane Irma Relief Fund will support communities and individuals in the Sarasota-Manatee area that have been hammered by this storm.  Please click the Donation button on this page to make an online donation. You can also send a check, with "Hurricane Irma Relief Fund" 
in the memo line, to:

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee
580 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, FL  34232
Attn: Hurricane Irma Relief Fund


If you need immediate assistance, please contact Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast, Inc. by phone at 941.366.2224. They will do their best to assist with any emergency needs or will be able to refer you to someone who can help.




Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts Update from JFNA

​September 29, 2017

In most of Florida and the neighboring states to the north Hurricane Irma had varying degrees of impact. For the most part, the areas with the largest Jewish populations on the east coast were spared significant damage. The most severe damage to homes and communal institutions are in Naples, Jacksonville and St. Augustine. In addition there are smaller communities up through Georgia that are reporting the need for some assistance for families and infrastructure.


The long power outages in the week following the storm created a significant short-term health issue, especially for seniors, and several Federations and Chabad engaged in extensive outreach, visiting, and food and water delivery efforts. The JFNA Emergency Committee provided emergency grants to a several local Federations last week. Other Federations took emergency response actions and the JFNA Emergency Committee will consider further grants to support these efforts as needed. JFNA is still assessing longer-range needs across the broad number of communities hit by Irma.


The truly severe impact from Irma has been in the Florida Keys and US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) where enormous damage to power grids, airports, shipping ports, water supplies, medical systems and more have brought daily life to a standstill. In addition, many homes were damaged; some completely ruined. 2 Many people have been evacuated from both locales but there are small numbers of Jews who will not leave because they are involved professionally in government, medicine or other critical fields. The lack of communal infrastructure beyond the individual synagogue level provides additional challenges for JFNA and our Federations. JFNA is in active contact with and supporting the synagogue communities in both areas.


For more information,

please call





Our friends at Chabad of Venice & North Port are collecting items for a convoy heading to help those in Naples and Key West – items such as non-perishable foods, pet food, toiletries, water, disposable paper products, and more. They are having a collection event on Sunday, September 16 @ 1pm at their new location at 21560 Angela Ln., Venice


All who attend can enjoy a free pastrami sandwich and children's activities. Contact Rabbi Schmerling at for details.