Caterers unable to deliver to Gaza border donate meals to poor instead

Hundreds of meals were donated to Leket Israel and other groups.

By
August 9, 2018 19:24
3 minute read.
Caterers unable to deliver to Gaza border donate meals to poor instead

Volunteers for Leket Israel collect hot meals for the organization [illustrative]. (photo credit: COURTESY LEKET ISRAEL)

 
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A catering company in the Gaza border area, unable to deliver thousands of meals to kindergartens and other places in the region due to the volatile situation, donated the meals to the Leket Israel food bank and other groups.

A post in Hebrew circulating on Facebook Thursday morning read, “Hello to everyone, Kibbutz Sa’ad Catering is now stuck with 2,000 ready-made dishes [made] for institutions due to the situation in the vicinity.” The post continued with details of the meals – which included chicken, bread and vegetables – and asked those interested in buying or receiving meals to call the caterer.

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The post concluded with the famous Jewish verse, “He [God] who makes peace in his high places, may he make peace for us.”
Kibbutz Sa’ad is located about five kilometers from the Gaza border. On Wednesday and Thursday, Hamas fired more than 150 rockets from Gaza into Israel, and the IDF and IAF retaliated with various strikes. Families living in the border area spent much of Wednesday night in shelters, and the security situation remains unstable.

Rabbi Binyamin Lau, a well-known Orthodox Rabbi and activist from Jerusalem, shared the post on his public Facebook page, commenting this would be “an opportunity to shop for Shabbat with the added value of providing a shoulder [support] to the residents of the area… The food was intended for kindergartens in the settlements [near Gaza].”

Later in the day, a commenter claimed to have heard in a message that the meals were donated to Leket Israel. Leket Israel is a self-described “food rescue organization” that makes sure surplus food does not go to waste and goes to feed those in need. The organization has offices in Ra’anana and three dedicated agricultural fields around the country.

In a phone call with The Jerusalem Post, catering director Yosef Shoshana confirmed that Sa’ad Catering had donated many meals to Leket Israel and other organizations.

“We prepare food for kindergartens, camps, and so on. We prepare food for everyone, for the entire Gaza envelope [region]… and because of all the chaos that happened during [Wednesday] night, they told us that [people] aren’t coming to the kindergartens, so they don’t want the food,” he said.


The company was uncertain about what to do with so much surplus food, “so we turned to many different groups,” and soon connected with Leket Israel, which took many of the meals, he said. A youth village in the area, and some other organizations, also accepted meal portions.

According to Shoshana, the catering company has worked with Leket Israel in the past. It has happened before, he said, “that we had [meal] portions we had no use for, and so we turn to them.”

“First of all, we are sad that it happened to them like this [to have extra meals because of the Gaza situation],” Asaf Hadari, Leket’s manager of hot meal recruitment, told The Jerusalem Post by phone. “But we’re also happy that this food, instead of being thrown out, is going” to people who need it.

He thanked the company and kibbutz for the donation, saying, “it’s not taken for granted” that people donate food. He explained the organization had seen the messages about the leftover meals and approached the catering group, confirming first that the meals were suitable for collection.

Leket is distributing the meals in various places, including a center in Kiryat Gat that helps blind individuals in difficult financial circumstances.

While Shoshana and Hadari were unable to provide exact numbers of how many meal portions Leket received, a spokesperson for the organization clarified Leket Israel “received and distributed 600 meals from the catering company.”

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