LOS ANGELES (KABC) — As the war in Israel enters its third week, Los Angeles resident Joelle Uzyel has also felt the effects of the Hamas attack and the fighting that followed.
Uzyel, who was born in Israel, first had to bring her mother home to LA. She was visiting her family in Israel. Then Uzyel jumped into action, coordinating help of all kinds.
“I went through my direct messages, emails and WhatsApp group chats. Just the logistics of fundraising. I collected them. I sent them to storage facilities,” Uzyel said.
And that aid has already made its way to Israel, helping those in need thanks to two cargo flights, including one that left LAX over the weekend.
The donations and flights were coordinated by the Worldwide Friends Foundation, which was founded after Russia invaded Ukraine. Their newly formed mission is called Israel Friends.
“There are 191 pallets or skids traveling on this plane. That’s 61 tons of relief supplies – a mix of essential protective equipment, medical assistance and humanitarian assistance,” said Teddy Raskin, co-founder of the Worldwide Friends Foundation and Friends of Israel.
“Children who are orphans. Families who left their homes with dead family members and nothing but what they had with them. So these families were displaced and here in LA we collected stuff – everything from baby food, baby clothes, clothes, toys, books,” Uzyel said.
The goal, according to Uzyel: Help the victims of the attack get back on their feet so they can overcome the difficult months ahead. But also create an opportunity for grieving and frightened Jews in Los Angeles and around the world to contribute in any way they can.
“In the last few days we had over 200 volunteers, mostly mothers from LA, come together and pack over 700 boxes, from toothbrushes to diapers, baby food to flashlights for women and children in Israel,” said Elizabeth, who helped fund it has a cargo flight and did not want to reveal her last name.
“What is happening in this conflict does not only affect the Israelis. It also affects the Palestinians,” Uzyel said. “When I see women, children and men being hurt in Gaza, it is heartbreaking. We are at war. Nobody will win. Both sides suffer. We must find peace. We have to find a way to live together. We’re neighbors.”