Touched by Tragedy, Social Influencers Springboard Chesed Fund Campaign to Benefit Victims of Surfside Building Collapse


SURFSIDE (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – After the deadly building collapse in Surfside, a massive crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $1.25 million, with more than 11,000 people opening their hearts and their wallets to help victims and their families.

Coordinated by EZS Events in a combined effort with Hatzala of South Florida and The Shul of Bal Harbour on The Chesed Fund platform, the Surfside Tragedy Central Emergency Fund is comprised of 57 fundraising teams. The $5 million campaign has been featured on both local and national news outlets and has drawn donors from far and wide.

Yoshi Falber, The Chesed Fund’s chief marketing officer, said that the idea of having one central campaign to help those affected by the tragedy made more sense than having multiple small initiatives. Recognizing the need for accountability and transparency, Falber was put in touch with Andre Roitman of Hatzala of South Florida who recommended the connection with The Shul of Bal Harbour.

“It is a famous, older shul and is located right there,” Falber told VIN News. “Rabbi Lipskar is well known in the area and it was the logical choice.”

Thanks to Hatzala of South Florida, Falber joined forces with EZS Events, a group of Surfside young professionals who were already hard at work on a fundraising campaign. Together they took their unified campaign to social media where it was shared by well-known personalities including Ben Shapiro and Mark Levin and the donations began rolling in. To date, the largest donation came from a publicly traded non-Jewish company based out of Toronto which has a presence in Miami in the amount of $20,000, which was closely followed by an $18,000 from a charitable trust.

The money will be distributed by a highly confidential advisory board which will include financial professionals, accountants and lawyers. The funds will be allocated directly to the affected families.

Team Dan’s Deals is nearly halfway towards its $50,000 goal in a campaign that strikes close to home. Dan’s Deals’ JJ Eleff is a Surfside resident who described the catastrophe as akin to 9/11 for locals.

“I woke up Thrusday morning, checked my phone and couldn’t move,” said Eleff. “When I moved to 33154, Champlain Towers was at the top of my list for apartments I was interested in. Five years later, I’m living just a few blocks away on 89th Street and I could smell the smoke outside my front door.”

Eleff said he knows of many people living in similar buildings of comparable ages that are also dealing with deteriorating foundations.

“They are so scared to go to sleep at night now,” said Eleff. “We are all praying for a miracle and hoping we will wake up and this nightmare will be over.”

Being able to leverage Dan’s Deals’ reach to help victims was a no brainer for Eleff.

“What these families have ahead of them is unimaginable,” said Eleff. “As a community here in Surfside, as Jews and as fellow human beings, I want to do everything I can to help them and if that means money, I’m happy to utilize the site to that end.”


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