US ambassador to Israel and friends rally round for those in need

The Ambassador, his family, and a group from the Embassy volunteered at Pantry Packers, making food parcels and wrapping gifts for the poor and needy.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman volunteers at Pantry Packers, December 2019.  (photo credit: MENDY HECHTMAN/COURTESY)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman volunteers at Pantry Packers, December 2019.
The US Ambassador to Israel, his family, friends and members of the Embassy community have helped to spread some Hanukkah cheer by helping to pack food parcels for people in need.
Ambassador David Friedman and his cohort were welcomed to the Pantry Packers food preparation and distribution facility in Jerusalem, where they sifted, labeled, filled and sealed more than 1080 bags of wholewheat pasta to be distributed to families in food boxes.
Pantry Packers has become a central hub for repackaging excess food products, dealing with dry goods, donated fresh food and meals on wheels services.
In addition to the pasta, the group repackaged donated food collected by LEKET, Israel's leading food rescue service, into 200 meals for elderly and homebound people.
“We’re back again on the eve of Chanukah at Pantry Packers to prepare meals and wrap presents for those in need of a little kindness”, said Ambassador Friedman. “I can think of no better way to usher in the holidays!”
The group also packed 150 gifts for orphans taking part in the annual Colel Chabad Hanukkah Retreat. 300 women and children in around 80 families are set to enjoy a two night retreat, featuring entertainment, trips, and gifts, supported by The Finger Family and the Meromim Foundation.
Pantry Packers is an intiative of Colel Chabad, which, at 231 years old, is Israel's longest continuously running charitable organisation. The centre has become increasingly popular with Israeli locals and tourists alike as a place where volunteers can play a real part in directly benefitting Israel's neediest families, as it distributes tens of thousands of packages weekly.
In addition to its food processing facilities, it plays host to the LoveAble gift shop. Run by the people of Beit Finger, a residential centre for people with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other degenerative diseases, the shop offers a selection of handmade ceramics, including hanukiot for the holiday.
“It was a great honor when the Ambassador and Embassy staff volunteered with us last year, but this second visit makes that much more of an impact knowing that all involved see the importance of giving back, " said Rabbi Menachem Traxler, Director of Pantry Packers.
"Colel Chabad, and all of our programs in Israel, continue to feel the strong support from the American community in helping us provide for those in need, especially during the holidays."