Just a few blocks away from the site of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, you'll find the Surfside Community Center.
It's become a refuge, and food hub, for those in need.
Jay Beck tells NBC 6 News he's among about 15 professional chefs working around the clock at the community center to make sure impacted souls are fed.
“We’re basically just cooking for the first responders, the families of the victims, the Red Cross, the volunteers, the Miami-Dade police, the Fire Department, and anybody that comes in that’s affected by the tragedy,” said Beck.
Beck, a trained professional chef and owner of Kosher Private Chef Concierge, says he’s been volunteering at the community center since the collapse of Champlain Towers South.
Beck tells us he met Eran ‘Ronnie’ Hazan of the Yedidim organization, and Joe Zevuloni, shortly after the tragedy. He says they immediately began coordinating how best to feed those in need.
“They were the ones that asked if I wanted to help with something, they said they were opening a kitchen here. I said, ‘no problem,’ they had no knowledge of my prior skillset or anything,” said Beck.
He says Surfside concessionaire, Eli Ginsburg, and the City of Surfside provided resources to get the kitchen up and running.
“We're also serving healthy food which is something I’d like to let people know this is not just a burger or hot dog kind of operation. We’re serving actual like fresh salmon, we serve steaks. We still serve the burgers and hot dogs, but we also do the grilled chicken and we do the vegetarian falafel and then we have a menu that's probably par with several better quality restaurants,” said Beck.
Meanwhile, Aventura's Chabad Synagogue has opened as a community support center for victims' loved ones, friends and extended family members.
“It's becoming quite pressuresome and challenging for the immediate families. So, they kind of reached out in a certain way and asked, is there any way we can create some kind of off-site location where we can give space to people to mourn. People don’t want to be alone. They want to share with one another, they just want to be together with one another, give each other a hug and just spend time and be together,” said Rabbi Laivi Forta.
Aventura Chabad is serving as an off-site location for those in need to find therapists, prayers with Rabbis, and supplies. Forta says Aventura Chabad has organized a community prayer service, and supply drive, in the days since the condo collapse.
“Therapists, Rabbis on hand for prayers just to comfort people, give them a hug and, yeah, there are supplies here. We did a major drive for people to take stuff to the Shul of Bal Harbor, which is the great synagogue in Bal Harbor, at 94th [Street] and Collins,“ said Forta. “And we've seen the camaraderie and the support from the community just wanting to reach out to one another and the love and the care in unprecedented ways. Incredible actually."
Aventura Chabad is located at 2801 NE 210 Street, and its doors will be open to assist those in need from 2-8 p.m.
For more information on assistance provided at Aventura Chabad, visit https://www.chabadfl.org/