Houston has always had a limited amount of kosher food, most of it delivered from hundreds and thousands of miles away. A handful of chain supermarkets, such as H-E-B Grocery, carry kosher meat, poultry and milk to supply Houston’s Jewish community. Hurricane Harvey flooded two of these main supermarkets and caused the other two to shut down as well—one has been turned into a shelter by authorities—and supplies are now beginning to run low.
“We have placed an order for kosher meat in Miami, and it’s leaving there on a refrigerated truck Tuesday morning, heading this way,” Rabbi Dovid Goldstein, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Houston who is coordinating the kosher food-relief effort for the community, told Chabad.org. Chabad-Lubavitch of Texas Regional Headquarters plans to make a kosher food pantry available to the Jewish community as supplies reach the area.
They can only do that, however, if the roads are cleared of water.
“Even for those who were fortunate not to lose electricity, like us, it’s a matter of days until we have no milk and other basics,” says Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky, a Chabad emissary whose own home was flooded and serves as leader of the Shul of Bellaire. He added that many of those who did lose their electricity lost whatever kosher food they had stockpiled. “And when the stores do reopen, it is open question as to what they’ll actually have that’s salvageable.”
For now, basic staples like rice and cereal are available in unflooded grocery stores. But thousands of people in Houston are still sheltering in place, and when that order is lifted, food supplies will inevitably plummet.