During the last two years of economic hardship, unfortunately, as the unemployment and poverty rates went up, an increasing number of people found themselves homeless. In 2020 alone, the homelessness rate went up 27% according to Haaretz. In particular, near our Jerusalem branch, which is just two blocks away from the city’s Central Bus and Railway stations and a few minutes walk from the Machane Yehuda market, there are high rates of people living on the streets with nothing.
In partnership with a motivated and very special group of young adult university students, Meir Panim is working to provide warm meals, delivered directly to these individuals. In the evenings, despite our branch being already closed for the day, we open up and take out loads of prepackaged individual tin trays for distribution in the neighborhood.
The young adults come with a shopping cart and special heated blankets to keep the Meir Panim meals warm, and follow a route where they know people are spending the night.
This act of generosity is truly in keeping with Meir Panim’s mission, to help those in need with dignity and respect, and just as in our Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens, meals are offered with no questions asked and a warm smile and greeting.
We hope with the unemployment rate returning to pre-pandemic levels, that this population especially will be back on their feet soon. However, we are still prepared to take care of them in any way we can to help them and break the cycle of poverty. Meir Panim is grateful to be able to partner with these students and provide these amazing volunteers with nutritious and hot meals so they can focus their efforts on locating and identifying those who need a helping hand.