Darwin, Australia, is separated from Houston, Texas, by the international date line, the equator and 14,882 kilometers of Pacific blue. Yet Gaye Shultz of Darwin is one of the many who have donated to Chabad of Houston’s relief efforts as part of local fundraising campaigns orchestrated by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries around the world.

Houston was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, and continued heavy rain have meant flooding and devastation in many parts of the city. With kosher stores and communal institutions underwater, and kosher food running out in the city, Chabad emissaries are in the midst of coordinating kosher food convoys to be brought into the city once the roads are clear enough to allow trucks to enter.

“We live in a community where we are far removed from the Jews in Melbourne and Sydney,” says Shultz, who was born in the UK, but has lived in Australia most of her life. “The hurricane made me realize that fellow Jews in Houston are experiencing hardship. It’s all about Jews helping each other, no matter the location.”

Since Darwin has no synagogue or Jewish communal organizations, Shultz and her husband, Ed, are served by Chabad of Rural and Regional Australia (RARA), directed by Rabbi Yossi and Malki Rodal, who are among many Chabad emissaries all over the globe to have held fundraising campaigns in their respective communities, with all funds being sent directly to the Houston community.

In the short term, the concentrated efforts are on ensuring that people are physically safe, as well as out of the water, fed and accounted for. In the coming days and weeks, the focus will shift to rebuilding as people return to homes ravaged by water and ensuing mold, accelerated by temperatures that are expected to reach 90 degrees in the coming days.

“Geographical distance is nothing in comparison to the connection that we have,” says the rabbi, who has reached out to 450 households across the Australian continent, asking them to donate funds for the community in Houston. “We see this on a daily basis as we reach out to Jewish people scattered throughout Australia, and the same is true on a global level as well.”

To contribute, visit www.chabad.org/hurricanerelief.