All over the United States, families are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. Turkey is in the oven. Potatoes are getting mashed. Cranberry sauce is being stirred. Yet, for Israel’s 1.65 million poverty stricken citizens, they can only dream of a home filled with good smells emanating from their kitchen.
When cupboards and bellies are empty, Meir Panim steps in to provide practical aid and care to the destitute, elderly and sickly. Known for their six free restaurant-style soup kitchens across Israel, Meir Panim is the place to go when hunger sets in. “We have a ‘no questions asked’ policy,” explains Nissim, who runs Israel’s southern branch of Meir Panim in Dimona. “First and foremost, we strive to treat everyone with dignity, care, respect and warmth. Sometimes that is worth even more than the food itself.”
Not only does Meir Panim assure that patrons get served a fresh and nutritious meal with extra touches included around the holidays, they also provide packed food for pick-up from each of their branches. It is clear to Meir Panim that if someone needs to eat at the soup kitchen, most likely their own kitchen is empty of food.
Additionally, for the elderly and homebound, nearly 170,000 meals are delivered annually through Meals-on-Wheels. Volunteers provide delivery with a smile along with kind and much needed conversation. This all goes a long way to lift the spirits of the downtrodden.
With 1 out of 3 Israeli children lacking basic nutritious food, Meir Panim’s Meals for Children program distributes 102,000 meals annually specifically to underprivileged kids. 7,600 chickens are given out to the needy through Meir Panim’s “A Chicken for Shabbat” program.
Just imagining what it must feel like for a hungry person to receive warm food and friendly company is enough to bring anyone to a higher level of thankfulness for their own good fortune. As you celebrate Thanksgiving and reflect on all that you have to be grateful for, please consider sharing some of the blessings in your life with those less fortunate.
All donations to Meir Panim are tax deductible. Your thoughtful support of Meir Panim truly provides the nearly 390,000 annual recipients of our meals a real reason to be thankful, a satisfied body and spirit and the knowledge that they are remembered by generous supporters like yourself.