Food Giveaway 311.
(photo credit: Hazon Yeshaya)
Hazon Yeshaya, one of the country’s premier food aid centers, reported Wednesday
a 10 percent increase in food distribution this year ahead of the High Holy
Days, which start next week.
The organization, which was founded in
Jerusalem more than a decade ago and now operates soup kitchens countrywide,
launched its holiday food aid distribution earlier this week Sarah Manning,
director of development for the non-profit, said it had been “inundated with
requests” from a growing number of people considered by the state to be at
Status Alevel poverty (“zaka’ut alef”).
According to the latest figures
from the National Insurance Institute, some 420,100 families or
Israelis lived below the poverty line in 2008, compared to 1,630,400 in
“These families live on meager hand-outs and have even more reason
than most to dread the forthcoming ‘threeday’ festival of Rosh Hashana
by Shabbat, when stores, schools and soup kitchens across Israel will be
closed,” she said.
Some 12,000 packages containing chicken, fruit and
vegetables, honey cake, instant coffee, grape juice and honey are
expected to be
handed out at distribution centers in Rishon Lezion, Ashkelon and the
Abraham Israel, the founder and director of Hazon Yeshaya,
added, “We do whatever we can to make the New Year holidays sweeter by
food to those who unfortunately still live in hunger, despite Israel’s
We try not to turn anyone away who is truly desperate, even
if it will take me the rest of the year to raise the money to pay for
Hazon Yeshaya relies heavily on volunteers from Israel
and abroad to work in its soup kitchens, which operate all year,
holidays. It also provides free dental care to the poor and vocational
courses to the destitute unemployed.