Historic Partnership Announced to Create
Largest Anti-Hunger Program in Israel

A ground-breaking public-private partnership was announced recently between one of Israel’s largest non-profit relief agencies and a leading food service supplier to Israel’s high-tech industry. According to the arrangement, Schulz Quality Catering, a family owned and operated business with over 30 years of experience in the food service industry, will lease and operate the institutional kitchen at the Mortimer Zuckerman and Abigail Zuckerman Israel Nutrition Center located in the Negev Region town of Kiryat Gat. The facility will be the largest single source of food assistance in Israel and will benefit up to 30,000 children and families each day.

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The Israel Nutrition Center, which will commence operations in late 2010, is a project of American Friends of Meir Panim (AFMP), a U.S. charity established to help its Israel-based counterpart, Meir Panim Relief Centers, to ease the suffering of Israel’s needy families. According to AFMP President David Roth, who spearheaded the project, meals prepared by Schulz Quality Catering at the center will be packaged and delivered via refrigerated trucks on a daily basis to Meir Panim’s national network of relief centers and selected public elementary schools.

Additionally, the Israel Nutrition Center will house a Free Restaurant, a Power of Giving family warehouse, an after-school youth club for children-at-risk and vocational training programs for the unemployed. The facility will also help the local community by creating over 200 new jobs at the site. The projects will operate in conjunction with local municipalities, educational and welfare services, and the Sacta Rashi Foundation.

In addition to leasing the facility’s kitchen to supply its 500 clients and 75
corporate dining centers, Schulz Quality Catering will also operate on a 24-hour-a-day production schedule to produce meals to feed the tens of thousands of needy Israeli children who rely on Meir Panim each day. According to a November 2, 2009 report from the Israel National Insurance Institute, 1,651,300 people in Israel currently live below the poverty line.

For Schulz, which will relocate its main production facility currently located in Kfar Saba to the Israel Nutrition Center as soon as construction is completed, the new site in Kiryat Gat provides excellent highway access, ample room for expansion and an opportunity to have a serious impact on the fight against hunger in Israel.

Yechiel Schulz, Founder and Owner of Schulz Quality Catering, stated, "As one of Israel's oldest catering services, we are intimately familiar with the country’s widespread hunger problem and feel a deep sense of responsibility to use our resources to help combat the problem. We are honored to join Meir Panim, Israel's largest relief organization, in this venture and to take an active role in the battle against hunger."

For Meir Panim, this partnership not only represents a vast increase in the relief agency’s capacity to provide assistance to Israel's poor, but it also ensures that patrons will receive the same high-quality meals that are being prepared for Schulz Quality Catering’s commercial clients by its highly acclaimed staff of chefs and nutritionists. Perhaps the most significant benefit of this joint venture to Meir Panim, however, is the fact that the annual revenues from its lease arrangement with Schulz will enable the Israel Nutrition Center to be a self-sustaining operation.

According to Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and an instrumental supporter of the project since its inception, the teaming of a not-for-profit relief organization with a for-profit business is potentially trend-setting. “In the face of these difficult economic times, it is crucial for every relief agency to be innovative and resourceful to meet the growing demand for its services”, he said. “This public-private collaboration will establish the largest food relief program in Israel, impacting the lives of tens of thousands of children and their families on a daily basis. It is a shining example of entrepreneurial philanthropy that deserves praise and should be emulated.”

Michael Fromm, Chairman of AFMP, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative and his gratitude to the Schulz family for their eagerness to take a leadership role among Israel’s business community in addressing the nation’s poverty crisis. “This is a clear act of social responsibility and dedication to a vision for providing a brighter future for Israel’s children,” he said. “With this partnership, we have reached a true turning point in the decade-long fight against hunger in Israel.” 

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About Schulz Quality Catering: Schulz Quality Catering is currently run by Yechiel and his three sons, Oren, Nir, and Chaim, and employs more than 1,000 employees serving over 60,000 meals a day. It provides dining services to more than 85% of Israel's high–tech industry including Amdocs, Orange, Bezeq International, and the Israel Aircraft Industry.  In addition, Schulz Quality Catering recently purchased one of Israel's leading gourmet catering businesses and is the exclusive caterer for all of the VIP affairs at the presidential residence. 

Schulz Quality Catering employs highly skilled chefs and nutritionists and operates with extremely high standards of cleanliness and professionalism and prides itself on its quality of service, food variety and attentiveness to its clients’ needs. In 2007, Schulz Quality Catering was awarded the prestigious "Golden Fork" award in recognition of its creative cooking and quality service.

About Meir Panim: Since 2000, Meir Panim Relief Centers has been the largest food and social services conduit of its kind, providing both immediate and long-term dignified relief to thousands of needy individuals daily via its network of 30 relief centers. Meir Panim’s free restaurants serve thousands of hot, nutritious meals daily in fourteen cities throughout Israel. In addition, packaged meals are delivered to needy schoolchildren, the homebound, elderly and disabled, including hundreds of Holocaust survivors. Power of Giving warehouses distribute donated clothing, furniture, and home appliances to the poor in nine branches. Struggling parents benefit from vocational training and prepaid food cards which enable them to sufficiently provide for their families. Meir Panim’s youth clubs help children-at-risk hope for a brighter future. Meir Panim serves over one million meals a year to Israel’s needy population. For more information, please visit us online at www.meirpanim.org/nutritioncenter.

Contact information:
American Friends of Meir Panim – Marjorie Lynn Tel: 917.886.8535 or via email at marjorie@meirpanim.org or go to our web site.
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