Late November, a group of women from “Mothers With Meaning,” as part of a trip with Masa Israel, visited Meir Panim charity organization’s Dimona branch in southern Israel. The group was so touched by Meir Panim’s good work, as they visited its Holocaust Survivors program, that they decided to arrange a special event for the city’s impoverished and mainstream citizens.
“Many people are impacted by their personal experience with Meir Panim’s volunteer program as they see our work in action, providing meals and care for those in need with dignity and respect,” told Mimi Rozmaryn, Director of Global Development for Meir Panim. “However, the ‘Mothers With Meaning’ group took greater action after their visit.”
Rozmaryn explained that just five weeks after their initial visit, the ladies were back in Meir Panim’s center with an event that benefited not only the charity’s regular patrons of its free Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchen but also the whole Dimona community.
“Within days of their visit, the ‘mothers’ decided that they wanted to run a ‘sale’ for Meir Panim clientele,” continued Rozmaryn. “They arranged this to be broadly publicized, opening it up to the community at large along with the more needy who regularly receive their daily nourishment from Meir Panim.”
The goal of ‘Mothers With Meaning’ is to make mini communities around Israel comprised of enthusiastic mothers looking to create high impact social projects and unite Israeli society. Their sale idea hit the mark.
The women scoured their homes, called their friends and networked in order to collect car loads of second hand clothes and housewares in great condition for the sale. They then worked tirelessly at Meir Panim to set up the sale in an organized and attractive way.
The especially unique point of the sale was that everything was sold from 1-3 shekels (about $0.25-$0.75). In this way, people could get something “new” in an affordable and dignified fashion. In addition, all of the proceeds went towards Meir Panim’s network of social welfare programs.
One woman in the group, Smadar, who moved to Israel 8 years ago from New York, shared her experience with the project. Finding the event very moving, she said that it is important for mothers to take time off from their work and even their families, to help someone in need.
Another attendee, Cherie Lipschitz Albucher posted on her Facebook page, “[This visit was] an emotional roller-coaster of self discovery, of the importance and the strength of community, showed me the amazing diversity of the people of our nation, my connection to our history so that we could ensure our future and the definition of my Jewish identity…Everyday we get up, get the kids ready for school, rush to work, come home, washing, cooking…We have food on our tables and clothes for our kids, we have blankets and family and love. But what about those who don’t have all of this?
Today we had the amazing opportunity to meet true heroes of survival. Meir Panim Dimona feeds over 500 people on a daily basis, they run a [program] for Holocaust survivors and today we were part of this huge chessed [good deed]. Today my amazing friends and I brought a ray of sun to our heroes. We danced, we sang, we painted..we loved and received love. I cried when we had to leave, I felt so grateful that I was in a position to give and to love.”
Rozmaryn added, “Meir Panim is grateful to Dimona branch manager Nissim, who helps Israel’s most needy citizens with love and attention to detail. This event made for a very special day, the culmination of dreams come true and a lot of hard work on behalf from the very dedicated group of ‘Women With Meaning.’ Also, thank you to our staff and all those who support Meir Panim’s charitable efforts in Israel.”