With weather reports predicting colder than usual temperatures for the following day in Jerusalem, the staff at Meir Panim‘s Jerusalem Restaurant Style Soup Kitchen anticipated an influx of visitors.
Frigid days, a challenge for everyone was especially taxing on impoverished elderly.
Extra pots of soup were cooked, as well as the recruitment of additional volunteers.
“With the drop in temperature, Jerusalem’s poorest residents are often forced to stay home, and often feel isolated and depressed,” Mimi Rozmaryn, Director of Global Development for Meir Panim charity organization explained, “lunch at Meir Panim, provides them with much needed physical and emotional nourishment.”
As predicted, the next day was cold. Meir Panim was ready, with extra “hands”: high school students from Sderot as well as reporters from Arutz Sheva Israel National News.
Arutz Sheva had heard about Meir Panim’s strong reputation and wanted to learn more.
Volunteers were welcomed in from the cold. Winter coats soon replaced aprons and trays of food were put into their hands immediately placed in their hands. It was lunchtime, and Jerusalem’s impoverished elderly population was hungry.
The helpers soon recognized that many of the elderly lunch patrons were indeed starving, but hungry for more than food, many were yearning for conversation.
After serving a table full of women lunch, 17-year-old Hadar was invited to sit down and join the conversation.
“I thought, I was just going to help serve food” commented 17-year-old Hadar from Sderot, “I never imagined that I was going to make friends with elderly olim from Spain.”
Intergenerational programming, fun for everyone involved positively impact the lives of kids’ and seniors’ lives, as well as for society as a whole.
According to Senior Lifestyle: “Older adults with dementia and other cognitive impairments experience more positive effects during interactions with children than they did during non-generational activities.”
Despite the freezing temperatures outside, Meir Panim’s warm lunch fed the hearts of both young and old, volunteer and patron.
“Looking around the room, I was pleased to see the number of tables filled with warm soup and laughter,” commented Rozmaryn, “connecting our wisest and newest generations is something that we at Meir Panim feel honored to do for our elderly patrons, youth volunteers, and society.”
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To donate to Meir Panim’s winter- care campaign, please click here.