IFCJ food basket charity 248.88.
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In an effort to reach as many needy people in the State of Israel as possible, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) initiated this week its largest food drive to date.
In the past the Fellowship, which relies on donations from religious Christians based in the US, has supported various organizations in distributing food baskets ahead of important Jewish holidays. This year, however, the organization has created a partnership with supermarket chain Supersol to provide 46,000 Fellowship gift cards worth NIS 400 each, which can be used to purchase food.
More than 300,000 Israelis will benefit from the food drive, with the organization utilizing some NIS 22.4 million to feed 62,000 families.
"This is the largest and most far-reaching food campaign ever in the history of Israel," claimed IFCJ Founder and President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
"While we have supported tens of thousands of people in Israel with food each year for quite awhile, especially before the New Year holiday period, the number of people in need has unfortunately skyrocketed this year," he added.
According to figures from the National Insurance Institute, more than 1,600,000 Israelis live below the poverty line, with that figure expected to rise, due to large scale layoffs and the global economic crisis.
Eckstein said that the new method of delivering food via Fellowship gift cards "will hopefully ensure honor and dignity to those in need."
"We hope that this will greatly help those in need and will enable them to have a more joyful and meaningful holiday season," said Eckstein, giving credit to his Christian partners for this initiative. "Thanks to them, more than 300,000 Israelis will have food this year and be able to celebrate the upcoming holidays."
In addition to the gift cards, the IFCJ will also assist in distributing food baskets through humanitarian aid organization Latet and Kollel Chabad to an additional 75,000 Israelis in need.
Based in Chicago and Jerusalem, the IFCJ is the largest funder of social services in Israel after the government. Founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote better understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians and to build broad support for Israel and Jews in need around the world, IFCJ's vision is that Jews and Christians would reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect and cooperation.