Rivka Aburus (pseudonym) credits Meir Panim with saving the lives of her family. A single mother with five children, one of whom has serious health issues, Aburus was unable to provide for even their basic needs.
“I credit Meir Panim for keeping us afloat,” she said. “I don’t want to imagine what would have happened to us without their help.”
Meir Panim, a charity working to combat poverty and hunger in Israel, runs food distribution networks and social service programs geared toward both children and adults. They work tirelessly to improve the day-to-day lives of struggling Israelis while providing education and training for those who are able-bodied and still young enough to work.
Aburus lives in the development town of Dimona, one of Meir Panim’s most active locations. She explained that Meir Panim not only gives her food on a weekly basis to ensure that her family has enough to eat, but they also provide her children with clothing, shoes, winter coats, and new backpacks filled with school supplies at the end of each summer.
She pointed out that no one should underestimate the cost of these items. “Filling a school backpack is an impossibility with the money I have,” she said. “Especially around the holidays, it is out of the question to supply my family with what is needed.”
Aburus explained that she receives 2,700 NIS ($710) in child support each month. “Three months ago, I began a part-time job helping disabled people,” she continued. “This brings in an additional 1,500 NIS ($410) a month. This is not nearly enough to maintain a family of six.”
Aburus is part of Israel’s shocking poverty statistics. The Israel National Insurance Institute recently publicized that 1.7 million Israelis, including two out of five children, live below the poverty line. “Meir Panim fills in the gaps in our daily lives,” noted Aburus. “I bless them every day for their generosity to us and the many others that I know who rely on them for survival.”
Aburus’s brother has been volunteering at Meir Panim’s free restaurant-style soup kitchen for nearly as long as she has been receiving help. “My brother loves helping people, especially Meir Panim, who has helped my family so much,” she said. “He goes regularly to clean their building, prepare and distribute food, and does anything that he can to help this great organization.”
Meir Panim’s services include the annual serving of 410,000 meals from their soup kitchens located throughout Israel; the delivery of 180,000 Meals-on-Wheels to the home-bound, disabled, and elderly; 100,000 hot and nourishing lunches through their Meals for Children program, and distribution of 5,300 prepaid food shopping cards before holidays.
“It would be impossible for me to continue without the help and care of Meir Panim,” expressed Aburus. “I and my children are grateful everyday for their incredible help.”