The Jewish community in the Australian state of New South Wales joined in relief efforts after wildfires in the state of Victoria ravaged the countryside, killing a confirmed 181 people.

In the Sydney neighborhood of Bondi, the Chabad-Lubavitch Yeshiva Centre amassed meals and other foodstuffs from its soup kitchen. State emergency services took delivery of the packages, which were prepared at Our Big Kitchen – a large facility praised by government officials last year for its communal involvement.

Authorities in Victoria said Wednesday that 50 people were still missing in the wildfires, which started Saturday and quickly consumed thousands of acres around Melbourne. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd revealed earlier this week that police suspected several of the blazes to have been set by arsonists. All told, more than 900 homes have been destroyed, and the death toll is expected to rise as fire crews work their way through the aftermath.

Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, dean of the Yeshiva Centre and director of Chabad-Lubavitch of New South Wales, said that his community, like all Australians, was shocked at the loss of life.

“This is the essence of our mission,” he said of the relief effort, “to help all in need, specifically in times of crisis.”

A community cook-in at Our Big Kitchen to further assist the relief effort has been planned for Feb. 19, he added.

In Victoria, where the state’s Rabbinical Council collected donations of blankets, clothes, and non-perishable food items, Saul Spigler, president of Chabad of Rural and Regional Australia, was checking in with residents in the affected area. At least one Jewish family’s home was completely destroyed, he said.

“We extend our sincerest condolences to the families of those whose dear ones have perished in these firestorms,” Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, said on Monday. “we pray to G‑d for the welfare and recovery of the many people who have sustained injury and whose lives are now forever changed through these devastating events.”