Fellowship donates 10 tons of matzah to the Jewish community in Odesa

Nearly 50% increase in food baskets distributed in Israel for Passover

 Jewish immigrants fleeing the war in Ukraine, on a rescue flight sponsored by the IFCJ, arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, March 6, 2022. (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
Jewish immigrants fleeing the war in Ukraine, on a rescue flight sponsored by the IFCJ, arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, March 6, 2022.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is distributing 10 tons of matzah for Passover to the Jewish community of Odesa in partnership with Chabad, the organization said this week.

Passover begins Friday at sundown. The Fellowship is Israel’s largest channel of Christian support. In 2021, it raised more than $200 million, mostly from Christians, earmarked to assist the Jewish state and Jews in need in other strategic areas.

The matzah delivery was planned before the Russian invasion of Ukraine but was delayed due to the escalation. After an intensive collaborative effort by the Fellowship and Chabad, the matzah was released from the port and has begun to be distributed.

“The Fellowship’s 30 years of working with Jews in need throughout the former Soviet Union has culminated in this moment,” said Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein. “This community is more vulnerable than it has been since World War II. The Fellowship has been there providing for their basic needs every day, and now this Passover aid will help them celebrate the holiday with dignity and remind them that even during hardship and war there is hope for a better future.”

In addition to the matzah, the Fellow has been assisting the Jewish population in the region by supplying essentials like food, medication and shelter, in addition to evacuating Ukrainian refugees to border crossings and funding immigration to Israel for those who qualify. In total, the Fellowship has distributed $6.5 million to support Jewish communities in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. It has helped bring 2,200 new immigrants to Israel. 

The Fellowship contributed enough funds in 2022 to increase Passover food basket distribution by nearly 50%. (Credit: ISRAEL YOSEF / INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)The Fellowship contributed enough funds in 2022 to increase Passover food basket distribution by nearly 50%. (Credit: ISRAEL YOSEF / INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)

Double the Passover food baskets

In addition to the work the Fellowship is doing abroad, this year it increased its donations in Israel to provide nearly 50% more Passover food baskets to those in need, the Fellowship said. The number of cooked meals distributed in soup kitchens for the holiday also increased by 22.5% compared to Passover last year.

To make this possible, the Fellowship provided about half a million NIS in additional assistance. 

The Fellowship contributed enough funds in 2022 to increase Passover food basket distribution by nearly 50%. (Credit: ISRAEL YOSEF / INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)The Fellowship contributed enough funds in 2022 to increase Passover food basket distribution by nearly 50%. (Credit: ISRAEL YOSEF / INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)

The funds were used in “Lasova” in Tel Aviv, for example, which is giving out 1,000 food baskets this year compared to 50 last year and 4,000 cooked meals compared to 2,400. In Sderot, the “Mercaz HaChesed" gave out 1,200 food baskets - double the amount distributed for Passover last year. And there are several other examples. 

Finally, the Fellowship, working closely with the Welfare Ministry, has said it will set a budget of NIS 8 million to expand its “Golden Shield” program to assist the elderly and Holocaust survivors with basic needs. The program’s activities are provided through the Fellowship and the social services departments in local authorities.