A Dominican Republic Jewish center has assumed a supporting role in the Haitian relief efforts undertaken by a host of aid organizations and countries in the wake of the country’s worst earthquake in more than 200 years.

Rabbi Shimon Pelman, director of the S. Domingo-based Chabad-Lubavitch of the Dominican Republic, sped toward the country’s border with Haiti Friday morning in a jeep with a local police chief and commander. The trio came bearing equipment for rescue personnel, as well as kosher food for Jewish aid workers who had contacted the Chabad House throughout the day.

“Right now, we’re assisting the tremendous efforts of aid workers,” he said by cell phone, five minutes from the border. “Staff from different agencies around the world are in need of food and other supplies. We will also make personal contact with the small Israeli community in Haiti, all of whom are okay.”

Pelman set out after two New York rabbinical students dispatched by Rabbi Mendel Zarchi, the Puerto Rico-based director of Chabad of the Caribbean, arrived in S. Domingo to help coordinate Chabad efforts based there.

Hours before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, Pelman began distributing truckloads of produce he brought in from the Dominican Republic, with more on the way. Additionally, the rabbi and his volunteers set up logistical support for groups of doctors using the United States Embassy as their temporary base.

Earlier on Thursday, Pelman met up with a rescue team from the Israel Defense Force’s Home Front Command that had mobilized in S. Domingo before heading out to the Haitian capital of Port au Prince.

Elsewhere in the world, a coalition of Jewish organizations were collecting money for international relief efforts. Participating groups included the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the American Jewish World Service, the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith Canada.

Chabad of the Caribbean, meanwhile, set up a relief fund and a Web page to keep people informed of development.

A full two days after the 7.0-magnitude quake sent buildings throughout Port au Prince crumbling to the streets, trapping untold thousands beneath the rubble, news reports described scenes of harrowing despair. Officials estimated the death toll could soar to 50,000, and hospitals that survived the shaking were taxed with treating the thousands more injured.

Thursday night, Israel dispatched additional resources to Haiti, including 40 doctors, five search-and-rescue teams, and a K-9 rescue squad, The Jerusalem Post reported. U.S. President Barack Obama had ordered thousands of troops to the stricken Caribbean nation, and United Nations peacekeeping forces, who had suffered casualties in the earthquake, were amassing troops from throughout Haiti.

Amos Radian, Israel’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic, told the Post of the devastation in Port au Prince, “the likes of which I have never seen in my life.”

“There is a strange quiet in the streets,” he said after touring the capital. “Thousands of people are sitting in the middle of the street afraid to enter the buildings. The city is destroyed.

Hana Levi Julian contributed to this report.