Athletes and participants of the 21st Maccabiah donated clothes and team-branded sports clothes to new immigrants and refugees, as part of an official cooperation with Pitchon-Lev.
They were distributed to the needy, including refugees from Ukraine and new immigrants coming to Israel from Ukraine and Ethiopia, as well as others who receive aid from the organization.
Pitchon-Lev is a national Israeli humanitarian organization founded in 1998, which works to break the cycle of poverty in Israel. The organization directly assists hundreds of thousands of people each year, many of them from the weakest socio-economic populations.
Approximately 10,000 athletes arrived in Israel, representing over 60 countries and competed in various events accompanied by thousands of professional staff, fans, and tourists. This year’s theme was “Israel Celebrates Sports.”
Within the Maccabiah Games, there were a variety of sporting events open to the public in addition to a long line of social events offering a unique and unforgettable experience to all who attend. During their stay, athletes visited Pitchon-Lev’s aid centers and got better acquainted with the organization’s activities.
Pitchon-Lev was proud to be chosen as one of the eight social welfare organizations who were represented at a star-studded opening ceremony of the Maccabiah. It was an impressive event that took place in the presence of the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.
Carrying the flag for Pitchon-Lev was longstanding volunteer, Yossi Grofi, who is a policeman by profession. A veteran volunteer of 25 years standing who has volunteered since Pitchon-Lev’s earliest days, Grofi, who represented the organization at the event said: " It was such a huge honor. We do not take it for granted that we were chosen to be honored in this way. This recognition really elevates the work of social organizations. "
In addition, the Maccabiah Games this year experienced a special tradition in ice hockey, whereby fans were asked to bring with them small furry toys and to throw them onto the ice rink after the first goal is scored.
This event took place at the final ice hockey game at the Jerusalem Arena Stadium on July 23rd. All the toys that were thrown onto the arena were collected and donated to Pitchon-Lev, to distribute to children from underprivileged families.
Also, team-branded clothing collection containers were placed in the stadium for Maccabiah participants and their teams to deposit clothing for collection and distribution to needy families.
On Monday, July 25, the Maccabiah Closing Ceremony took place, at Live-Park in Rishon LeZion. Representatives of Pitchon-Lev and also participants from Pitchon-Lev’s educational “Program 7” took part.
Eli Cohen, CEO of Pitchon-Lev commented: “Pitchon-Lev is proud to have had a central part in the largest Jewish sporting gathering in the world. It is moving to think about thousands of Jewish athletes from around the world who are implementing the Jewish value of caring for the needy."
Cohen continues, “I would like to thank the leadership of the Maccabiah, the professional teams, and of course, the athletes themselves for this touching joint effort and opening their hearts which is very much in the true spirit of Pitchon-Lev.”
“I am convinced that thousands of aid recipients will benefit from these generous donations and thank the Maccabiah and all the athletes, coaches and donors on their behalf. I wish the athletes well in their future sporting endeavors,” Cohen concluded.
Roy Hessing, CEO of the Maccabiah, added, “We are glad to undertake this important initiative of Pitchon-Lev and to involve athletes from around the world. This is a very moving and human initiative and I hope that together we will be able to help many families by providing high-quality sports clothing.”
The 21st Maccabiah is the largest sporting event of the Jewish people and the second-largest in the world, taking place once every four years with the participation of Israeli and Jewish athletes from around the world. The Maccabiah began on July 14 and continued for two weeks.
For more information: Pitchon-Lev
This article was written in cooperation with Pitchon-Lev