WATCH: Leaving No One Behind, Leket Provides 10,000 Passover Meals to Israel’s Elderly
By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 7 April 2020
Leket Israel has significantly stepped up its operations to provide nonprofits with surplus fresh fruit and vegetables and hot meals which are given to those in need due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, as the need for help grows.
Leket, which facilitates the collection and distribution of surplus food in Israel to those who need it with some 200 nonprofit associations receiving food and delivering it to 175,000 needy Israelis per week, is seeing an increase of 1,000 tons in donations of agricultural produce.
This is the result of the drastic decline in the purchase of agricultural goods by restaurants, hotels and catering companies that have ceased all operations due to the Corona outbreak and the subsequent lockdown in Israel.
Tal, a farmer from the Ben Shalom farm in Rishon Lezion, recently donated 12 tons of cabbage to Leket Israel. He grew this harvest to be sold in the marketplace.
However, “the Corona crisis has affected every step of the entire food chain. The company that normally purchases my produce closed overnight since it had nowhere to sell to,” Tal shared.
Having no way to market his cabbage in such a short time frame, he donated the cabbages, “not as an economic solution for me, however, it gives me great comfort knowing that people in need, without access to fresh vegetables, can enjoy my goods. I am truly grateful that it will not all end us as waste.”
Gidi Kroch, Leket Israel CEO thanked the farmers, who are unable to sell their products and “are showing great humanity by donating it to ensure that it is being given to the people who need it most.”
“We at Leket Israel could not continue to provide for Israelis in need without the incredible support of the Israeli farming community, especially with the Passover holiday soon approaching,” he added.
The Coronavirus outbreak has also affected Leket’s hot meals rescue program with a reduction of 98% in food donations, usually coming mostly from the affected tourism and entertainment sectors.
Seeking to fill the void, Leket is purchasing prepared meals for distribution to over 10,000 homebound elderly and other vulnerable people during the crisis.
Responding to requests from all over the country, Leket has expanded its operations to municipalities and community centers throughout Israel.
TPS joined a Leket distribution team in Jerusalem:
(Video by Yehontan Valtser and Kobi Richter)