Meir Panim Update
Meir Panim Young Leadership to Feed 5,000 Needy Children for Passover
January 1, 1970

The Feed 5,000 Soiree marked an incredible effort to show young professionals living in New York that small gestures can make a big impact when it comes to fighting hunger in Israel.

At $25 a ticket which included a drink, light dinner and a goody bag, the event was attended by over 400 hip, young professional New Yorkers in their 20’s and 30’s. Feed 5000, the brainchild of Renatt Brodsky, Project Director of AFMP, specifically marketed the soiree to an incredibly diverse group of Jews from all over NYC by creating a host committee of 40 individuals. The plan was for each host to network the fundraiser to their circle of friends which resulted in a packed party filled with 400 plus individuals passionate about Israel and helping those in need.

“I wanted to attract people from uptown, downtown, eastside and westside to come to this event and learn about the severe poverty crisis in Israel,” said Brodsky. “Feeding hungry people is a basic human need that anyone can relate to. And if you love Israel, believe in social equality and want to make a real difference in the life of another human being, then Meir Panim is an incredible organization to support. We are changing lives every single day by feeding people with dignity who have been stripped of their pride due to the hardships of poverty.”

According to the November 2010 Israel National Insurance Institute Poverty Report, two out of every five children are living below the poverty line and over 1.7 million Israelis suffer from hunger. Through its vast network of over 40 relief centers, which includes 14 free restaurants throughout Israel, Meir Panim prepares, packages, delivers, and serves tens of thousands of free, fresh, hot meals a day to impoverished Israeli families and children. Meir Panim also provides vocational training and other vital tools to help struggling families regain the dignity that comes with economic stability.

“Meir Panim’s Young Leadership division has the opportunity to step up and make a big difference in a child’s life,” said Michael Fromm, Chairman of AFMP . “Young urban professionals are now a legitimate force in philanthropy reaching out to share their good fortune with their Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel who are less fortunate.”

Almost all attendees at the Feed 5000 Soiree supported the campaign by either purchasing a raffle ticket or making a general donation. The cost to feed one hungry child in Israel is $5.50. Generous sponsors of the event included Prime Ko, Footlocker, Shema Or, SawUatSinai, Prestige Caterers, Boomset, Sassoon Salon, Estee Lauder, Jdeal as well as individual donors. Raffles included gift certificates to restaurants and stores, vouchers to websites, VIP Mets tickets, jewelry and more.

The entertainment for the evening included a short performance by singer/songwriter Ariel Jacobson and DJ Tegan spinning dance tunes. For those interested in connecting individually with a hungry child, colored constructive paper and markers were available for drawing pictures and writing letters to disadvantaged kids in Israel. “The idea of creating colorful Pesach cards for hungry children in Israel embellished with stickers and designs seemed so appropriate for a holiday commemorating Jewish survival and renewal,” said Shira Silton, a volunteer. “Observing young professionals create special cards was inspiring, meaningful, and unified us in reaching these children on a more personal level.” The photos and letters created will be sent to hungry children with the Feed 5000 donation later this month.

In order to remind attendees of the campaign goal, hosts and volunteers wore a black T-shirt with the Feed 5000 logo on the front and the slogan, No Child Should Go To Bed Hungry on the back. One female volunteer wearing the T-shirt even attracted a coffee date for later that evening. “Wearing the Feed 5000 T-shirt was a great way for me to meet more people that night, especially a Jewish boyfriend, and tell more people about Meir Panim,” she said. “It made me feel much more involved and connected to the kids we are helping.”

According to David Roth, President of AFMP, up until now Meir Panim never had a formal effort to involve young professionals in Meir Panim and help them coalesce to fight hunger. “This is a real opportunity for young people to ensure that Israeli children will have a rich and joyous Pesach,” he said.

While the goal to Feed 5000 children has not yet been reached, Brodsky is hopeful that the New York Jewish community won’t allow hungry Israeli children to be without meals this Passover. To make a donation to the Feed 5000 campaign click here.

To see a video from the Feed 5000 Soiree click here.

Photo: Shirley Rozman

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