Tzivia is the CEO of the Houston Kashruth Association (HKA), which is responsible for the kosher supervision of many restaurants in Houston, and coordinates kosher food inventory at major supermarkets. Immediately following the flooding, a number of supermarkets called Tzivia for assistance because their stores were flooded, and they were concerned with where the Jewish community was going to be able to get kosher food. Tzivia reached out to the Dallas Kashruth organization, who found a food truck owner transported supplies to Houston with supplies. He volunteered in Houston for over a month, cooking for those who lost everything. HKA supplied 1,500 kosher meals every day, to anyone who wanted them (regardless of religious affiliation). As donations of food and supplies poured in from the Jewish community, Tzivia and HKA secured two warehouses to store them all.
But HKA’s revenue stream – kosher supervision from restaurants – quickly dried up. Most kosher restaurants had either flooded or lost most of their business, as people had stopped going out to eat. Payroll was coming up, and Tzivia had no idea how the company would cover their basic expenses.
An HKA board member suggested that Tzivia ask for help from Hebrew Free Loan Association. “Hebrew Free Loan really was a lifesaver,” Tzivia says. The loan enabled HKA to stay afloat during this critical juncture. “I only had time to deal with emergencies. I couldn’t reach out to new clients, or deal with existing clients. My main goal was to make sure food was available to anyone who needed it.” With the loan, Tzivia was able to keep focusing on the needs of community, with the peace of mind knowing that the bills would be paid.
Tzivia and HKA continued offering their services for another three months, throughout the High Holiday season. HKA arranged for several Dallas kosher caterers to cook Rosh Hashanah meals, which were hosted in synagogues, so that the community could break bread and celebrate together. For those who had lost everything, it was a much-needed glimpse of hope and support.