Each year at our Seder, we recite “Kol dichfin yeitei v’yechul,” – “All who are hungry, let them come and eat.”
We say it, but do we really mean it? Do we open our doors and invite the poor and hungry to join us?
This year, Meir Panim branches in cities across Israel are hosting Seders for those in need. In Haifa, 80 people have already signed up; in Tzfat, 100 participants are expected; and the Dimona branch will host 250 attendees. In Ohr Akiva, Meir Panim has matched 250 needy individuals with local host families for Seder night. Every effort is being made to ensure that all who are hungry can truly come and eat.
“It is especially meaningful to be able to help people in need by inviting them to our Seder table,” said David Roth, AFMP President.
For those who would rather celebrate in their own homes, Meir Panim will distribute more than 2,000 food shopping cards. Passover is a particularly hard time for many, with the high price of kosher-for-Passover food making it almost impossible for those already in reduced circumstances. The pre-loaded card looks like a regular credit card and gives recipients the flexibility to choose whatever foods and household goods they want, and then ‘pay’ like regular customers at the check-out counter.
For those unable to shop for themselves, such as elderly Holocaust survivors and the disabled homebound, Meir Panim is delivering 2,000 holiday food baskets filled with premium items such as meat, fish and fresh produce in addition to matzah, wine and other Passover necessities.
Many Meir Panim branches have organized clothing drives, collecting and distributing new and gently used clothing so that disadvantaged men, women and children can be smartly dressed for the holiday.
As part of a new initiative, Meir Panim distributed vouchers worth $200 at upscale clothing retail stores to 300 single mothers. The vouchers were distributed to the most needy with special instructions: that the money could only be spent THEMSELVES. We are getting amazing feedback on how being able to treat themselves to something special for the holiday has reenergized them.
Several of Meir Panim’s clients got an even bigger treat: a renovated home in time for Pesach. This project is dedicated to families living in intolerable conditions and is organized by local Meir Panim volunteers.
Moldy bathrooms walls and showers are plastered and retiled, leaks are fixed, and the entire home is given a fresh coat of paint. If needed, new furnishings or appliances are even provided.
The goal of Meir Panim’s efforts is to provide the poor not only with food, but also the dignity to celebrate the holiday of freedom.
“We are thrilled to be able to expand our reach, thanks to generous donors who have teamed up with us to provide support to thousands in need,” said Roth. “Our programs, both new and old, aim to provide aid in unique ways, by empowering those who struggle and helping them feel their burdens eased.”
Wishing everyone a very happy Passover.