Leket Israel Ensures Food Never Goes to Waste



By: DAN VERBIN  
Published: June 4th 2010
in News » Israel

Leket sandwich making project.
Pic: Leket
Leket night food rescue project
Pic: Leket

Because of today’s challenging economy, many Israelis are not able to eat nutritious foods on a regular basis; they end up either eating cheap, processed foods or may skip meals, especially if they are parents who have to feed their children. There are also no hot lunch or breakfast programs in Israel for children living in poverty.

 

Children can’t function in school if they are not eating. To this end, Leket has a sandwich program that feeds 5,500 kids per day. However, “that addresses some part of the problem but not the whole part,” said Leiba.

 

For instance, in immigrant communities, many children are forced to take on parents’ jobs, translating for their parents or supporting their families financially. Fifty per cent of Ethiopians in Israel live below the poverty line; many in the Russian community, especially the elderly, are only able to find low paying jobs or are not employed. It’s the same story for all low income communities.

 

Leiba explained that the minimum wage in Israel is not sufficient at only 3,800 shekels per month; the poverty line itself is $5,500 per month for a family of four (about $1,500 CAD). And with the economic crisis of the last few years, those of lower economic status have been the worst hit.

 

Poor people tend to eat cheap, meaning processed food with all nutrients taken from it. Leiba pointed out that studies have found increased obesity, heart disease and blood pressure among the poor. It’s a vicious cycle. “Not only quality of life but it is increasing the burden on the state’s health system.”

 

Leket therefore has a certified nutritionist on staff and they are educating the non-profits they work with to provide balanced food to their clients; a move to whole grain foods, rice, peas, hummus and beans.

 

“Every pound of food that is rescued is a pound that otherwise would be destroyed. Every pair of hands helps.”

 

For more information, visit www.leket.org or email Deena@leket.org

 

Any volunteer help is greatly appreciated. People are encouraged to volunteer for as little as one hour when visiting Israel.

Related articles: (Leket, food bank, excess food, poverty, economic crisis, minimum wage, Ethiopian, homelessness, food stamps, nutrition)
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