Thousands of food parcels for Rosh Hashanah were distributed to the needy in an enormous operation by the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation
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By: News reporter for the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation, who joined dozens of volunteers in a special, exclusive review.
For thousands of those in need in the city of Haifa for whom there isn’t yet any food for the festival of Rosh Hashanah, it will arrive on our doorstep at the start of next week. Leading up to Rosh Hashanah 2015 the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation launched and worked on an enormous, extensive and unprecedented operation, not something unusual in the foundation’s long tradition since the day it was founded.
The Foundation works day and night, and even a long time before Rosh Hashanah they began organizing logistically, comprehensively and extensively the packing of food parcels for families in need, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, homeless street dwellers, the elderly and others who are not able to afford to lay out the Rosh Hashanah table with food. The food parcels with an estimated value of as much as hundreds of shekels, were assembled and packaged by the foundation’s staff and by the great support of dozens of volunteers, among them soldiers, those doing their national service, residents of the foundation’s ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’, and many more. The foundation’s new social club was turned into a big operations room and warehouse many days before the festival of Rosh Hashanah and the preparations and work on packaging the many food parcels for Rosh Hashanah began.
Many days before Rosh Hashanah, the foundation’s many volunteers loaded the hundreds of food parcels onto vehicles owned by the foundation, which were then distributed from door to door straight to the homes of the families in need, who are not able to make the journey to the foundation’s village of kindness by themselves, which is situated on Kasel Street, in the neighbourhood of Hadar Hacarmel in Haifa. During the course of the day of distributing the food parcels, even soldiers from the military engineering corps unit 603 and others came to volunteer. The foundation’s volunteers also gave their support with kindness and a wide smile for the needy and the elderly, lifting the parcels and putting them into their trollies. The ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation will continue to distribute food parcels right up until the beginning of the festival of Rosh Hashanah.
The food parcels that were distributed for Rosh Hashanah contained most of the fundamental basic products for the home, such as: Oil, sugar, pasta, rice, different types of beans, boxes of canned food, coffee, tea, chicken soup, chocolate spread, honey cake for the festival, biscuits, sweets for children, etc. As well as fundamental products, a bag full of vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, and further varieties of different of quality vegetables, was distributed to the families.
The enormous distribution operation took place over a number of days and in different and varied times because of the strong heat and the mist that dominated the last few days in Israel; and this was so that thousands of those in need could adjust the times they came to the foundation in Kasel Street in Haifa. The packaging of the food parcels continued into the early hours of the night by the numerous volunteers who help every year during the days of the festival.
Director and founder of the foundation, Mr. Shimon Sabag, said in great excitement: “I don’t recall in over 25 years, a distributions of food parcels as big as these, and such an enormous volume as this. The foundation has distributed food parcels to the needy for Rosh Hashanah for many years so this is by no means a new thing for us, but this year the scale of the operation greatly increased. Up to now we have packed thousands of food parcels, and the demand is higher than ever. I am really surprised also this year that the number of those in need continues to rise every year. I hope with all that’s in me that here we will manage to help everyone before the beginning of Rosh Hashanah at the start of next week on this coming Sunday on the eve of the festival, that is already very close.” Mr. Sabag added, pointing out: “Beliefs need to be expressed by actions, the discourse in the subject of poverty and social gaps is not falling down from the public agenda and it’s good that that’s the case, but it’s not enough to talk, we also have to do, and do an awful lot… Rosh Hashanah is a fitting time for preparing food parcels, but the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation works across the whole year for the benefit of those of the public who are in need and disadvantaged and specializes in support for the many Holocaust survivors, in many varied ways. The ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation will do all in its power in order to help the needy, and as such it has been a standard bearer since the day it was founded and until there is no longer one person in hunger in our country, be it child, woman or elderly person, the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation will be here to extend a hand of aid, help and support.
At the end of his talk, Mr. Shimon Sabag requested that a big thank you be given to all of the foundation’s many workers and volunteers, who worked tirelessly in the difficult days of strong heat and heavy mist that unexpectedly fell upon our area. They provided support and put into action the sacred work of the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation. He wished them and their family members a blessed new year, health and financial stability, and that they would always continue to realize the verse “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
It is worth pointing out that many good people took part and supported the large voluntary and organized set up in the extensive operation by the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation for Rosh Hashanah, when above all others, ruling with a strong hand with lots of kindness and smiles for all those in need was the foundation’s deputy director and lawyer Itai Svissa, as well as the foundation’s many workers and volunteers, among them the foundation’s loyal secretary Ms. Tami Sinar, the staff of the ‘Children’s Home’ that supports children in need and at risk in Neve David, Aryeh Bronstein- for many years a senior and devoted volunteer of the foundation, the foundation’s social worker Ms. Amit Eshed, the senior security guard Reuven Frizi, who has helped voluntarily for many years at all the foundation’s events and in all the operations of packing and distributing food packages for the festivals, manager of the foundation’s social club Ms. Naomi Iluz, resident of the ‘Warm Home for Holocaust Survivors’ and senior volunteer of the foundation Ms. Chavah Hershkovitz, the foundation’s doctor Arina Niemark-Alohin and her son Arkadi who helped in the initial registration on the long hot day of distributing the food parcels which was carried out exemplarily. The foundation’s volunteers Shlomi Tsarfati, Yaniv Bar and Avichai Lev, the foundation’s driver Marcelo Kibrik, the foundation’s cook Shimon Hen, and many other good people who there was not enough space to mention all of them here.
Over the course of the week many other good people came to volunteer at the ‘Yad Ezer Lechaver’ Foundation in order to pack food parcels, of which more and more were prepared each day following the enormous demand. This time it was players of the football club “Maccabi Neve Shanan Eldad” from the third league that came. The team vowed to stop training and the whole team came to the foundation’s village of kindness in Kasel Street in Haifa. Under the leadership of the team’s manager Mr. Eli Pisso, the professional staff and all the team’s players played their part and within a number of hours there were already more than an additional full 200 crates of food parcels ready. They packed the parcels themselves, carried them onto the players’ private vehicles, and immediately drove them straight to the doors of the hundreds of those in need across the city of Haifa. The football players were also joined by a number of border guard soldiers from the coast guard- from unit 306 under the command of Shachar and lidan, and from unit 101 under the command of Itai Chayon.
It is to be noted that at the end of the week on Friday morning, a further extensive distribution of food parcels took place for the needy that were not able to come and take food parcels during the week. In addition Radio Haifa covered the food parcels for Rosh Hashanah distribution operation during the course of the day with a live broadcast. The broadcast appeared in the program ‘Free Arena’ by Tali Liebman, Eli Levi and Yossi Mizrachi.
Extensive Photo Gallery: Joe Luciano, Adir Yeziref.