July 14, 2024
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Seth Leavitt and A&H Send Salamis to Houston

Like the rest of the country, Englewood resident Seth Leavitt was shocked and horrified by the news coming out of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Unlike many, however, he was well positioned to offer assistance.

When he saw photos and heard stories of the devastation that Harvey left behind, Leavitt “knew I wanted to do something. I just needed to figure out what that would be,” he said. Following the lead of NFL defensive end for the Houston Texans, J. J. Watt, he decided to set up a crowdfunding campaign to help and support those who had been affected by the hurricane.

Leavitt’s campaign was no ordinary collection of funds, canned food or toiletries. The CEO of Abeles and Heymann since 1997, he decided that “since I am in the food business, I should give away food.” But what to send? Since Houston was without power in many locations, he decided that salamis would be the most useful, as—unlike hot dogs—they do not need to be cooked before eating.

Leavitt established a GoFundMe page that worked as a matching campaign. “For just $10 you can purchase a salami for a family in Houston. Abeles & Heymann will match your purchase by sending another salami, too. One hundred percent of the funds raised goes toward the cost of the salami and the logistics for distribution,” Leavitt said during the campaign.

By the time they were ready to ship the salamis, A&H had raised nearly $8,000 to send over 1,500 salamis to the greater Houston area.

“The salamis arrived a day before Rosh Hashanah,” noted Leavitt. “We didn’t want to deliver right away since so much of the area was without power, so we waited a few weeks for much of the power to be restored. This was something people could easily eat on [the holiday].”

“I was happy to be able to give back,” he continued. “My son, Jonas, spent the summer being hosted by the Houston community. He helped make the 6 a.m. minyan at one of the shuls there. He was invited out; he made friends. That made it more personal for me.”

The salamis were distributed by Chabad of Houston and the Jewish Federation. Leavitt was gratified to receive emails and phone calls thanking him and A&H for the food, although he certainly did not initiate the campaign for the thanks.

At the Shabbat table just after the campaign ended, as everyone was discussing their “highlights and lowlights of the week,” Leavitt humbly and proudly stated that the highlight of his week was completing a campaign to send salamis to the hurricane-ravaged Jewish community in Houston. It was evident just how much helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey meant to him.

By Jill Kirsch

 

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