Feeding Israel’s Hungry

The newly merged Leket Israel is successfully redistributing the country’s over abundance of food to the poor.

from The Jerusalem Post:

Waste not, want not

… In January, Table to Table, Israel’s primary “food rescue” charity, and Leket, the country’s biggest charitable food purchase organization, joined forces and now operate under the name Leket Israel. With the merger, Leket Israel becomes Israel’s biggest charitable food service organization, dedicated to collecting all kinds of food slated to be discarded and redirecting it to needy people all over the country.

… The timing was propitious. “Over 1.7 million Israelis – 750,000 of them children – need approximately 140,000 additional tons of food a year,” Guttmann [one of the founders of Leket] says. “If you put all of Israel’s existing food assistance organizations together, they collect, rescue and provide no more than 25,000 tons, about 10 to 15 percent of what’s needed. With our newly combined strength, Leket Israel will be able to tap into the resources of the Global Food Banking Network, an international food-bank support organization, and we’ll be able to make a significant impact in improving the situation.”

The problem in Israel isn’t so much hunger as food insecurity, says Gitler, founder of Table to Table and now chairman of Leket Israel.

“There’s plenty of food in Israel,” he continues. “What we have to figure out is how to take food that’s going to be wasted and get it into the hands of people who need it. Preventing food wastage was the reason Table to Table came into being.”

… Last year, the two organizations together supplied just under seven million kilograms of food, and a half million meals to Israel’s neediest citizens. As a combined entity, Leket Israel will operate with a total of 50,000 volunteers, three warehouses, 12 commercial vehicles (including refrigerated trucks) and dozens of professional harvesters. It will serve both Jewish and Arab charities seven days a week, handling every kind of food – dry, packaged, loose, cooked, frozen, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables – to more than 250 nonprofit organizations across the country.