Pittsburgh organizations collect donations for Morocco earthquake victims

A call for action worldwide: Friday’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Morocco was felt, in many ways, around the world, including right here in Pittsburgh, with the Jewish Federation and Brother’s Brother Foundation getting right to work to raise money for donations.

Both organizations are working with international partners to figure out the best ways to support the thousands affected.

“We worry about all of the people who are suffering,” said Jeff Finkelstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “This is a long-term issue, and we want to be there for the long haul with them.”

While Brother’s Brother is only collecting monetary donations for now, support could eventually come in the form of hygiene kits, medical supplies, or even helping to create temporary housing, as they did in Turkey.

“Fortunately, the death toll is not as much as it was in Turkey, but the areas affected are in the mountains so getting there and providing aid is extremely difficult,” said Ozzy Samad, president of the Brother’s Brother Foundation.

Finkelstein went on a mission trip to Marrakech just a few years ago. He said recognizing some of the hardest-hit areas and seeing people gather in the square inspired his organization to start collecting donations online.

“In 2018, we saw snake charmers and so many people selling all kinds of wares…and there was incredible activity there. Now it’s a place where people have to sleep because their homes are destroyed or they’re just scared because of the aftershocks,” Finkelstein said.

Both organizations are praising the immediate efforts of generosity across the city.

“What amazes me is sometimes we’ll get really large donations. Sometimes, we’ll get a $5 or two $1 bills in an envelope that come to us, so you know that people are doing whatever it is that they can do,” Samad said.

Find more information on the Brother’s Brother collection efforts here. More on the Jewish Federation’s Morocco Emergency Relief Fund can be found here.

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