A woman shops for Passover 150.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Welfare Ministry announced on Sunday the allocation of NIS 7.5 million to charities and organizations to finance the distribution of food aid packages for Passover.
A little more than half of the allotted sum will go towards charities and organizations who are “known to the ministry” and who meet nationwide criteria for the distribution of some 310,000 food packages. The remaining amount will be distributed as purchase vouchers for sums between NIS 200 and NIS 400 through the welfare departments in local authorities throughout the country.
“The food security program, for which we have reached an agreement with the treasury, has significantly changed the manner of aiding those in need of nutritional security. The support of the Welfare Ministry during the High Holidays and Passover has increased these past two years and continues to grow,” Welfare Minister Meir Cohen said on Sunday.
In January, the Finance, Welfare, Education and Health Ministries jointly unveiled a NIS 230 million food security program to help feed some 24,000 families.
According to the Welfare Ministry, the proposed plan to ensure food security among households in Israel was designed to help the country deal with the effects of food deficiencies according to universal criteria. The plan aims to assist underprivileged and needy families and ensure they are not lacking in the basic need for sustenance.
Assistance will be provided while aiming to "preserve human dignity" through food packages or food vouchers, according to the needs of each family. The proposed food security plan brings together all parts of Israeli society - the state, NGOs, and the business sector - to help eradicate food insecurity.
Cohen added that the food security initiative was part of a transition for the ministry from “relief to welfare.”
A report released in December by the Israeli aid group Latet found that some 70 percent of the people supported by social welfare bodies in Israel live without basic nutritional security and lack food. Nearly half of children in families receiving assistance have gone a full day without eating. Furthermore, 9% of children had to steal food to survive, while 12% were forced to pick up food from the floor or garbage bins.