When she was 5 years old, her house burned down. The family was already poor and the fire left them homeless.
“My family had nothing but a small Mazda, the clothes we were wearing and about 80 shekels or so in the bank,” Eliana, now 10, recalls.
The family lived in Kiryat Ata and they drove 45 minutes to Or Akiva. They spent a couple of days sleeping in their car and trying to figure out what to do. One morning, they visited the local Meir Panim restaurant-style soup kitchen to get some food.
“My parents were in line with a few slices of bread and chicken,” says Eliana. “One of the volunteers saw me and my siblings looking with hungry eyes at all the food around us; Meir Panim serves a complete meal and there were salads and rice and we were so hungry. Somehow they got to talking about our situation and they called one of the ‘bosses’ of Meir Panim. She called my parents in.”
The family drove to Jerusalem. Eliana remembers how the family was greeted with such warmth by Goldie Sternbuch, director of overseas relations for Meir Panim, and the rest of the Meir Panim team. On the spot, Sternbuch gave the family a prepaid shopping card to supply the family with enough food for the next several weeks.
“Without that help, who knows where we would be,” says Eliana. “I honestly think us kids would have gone into foster care. This act of kindness shown to us has permanently implanted a desire in me to help those who need it, too.”
Meir Panim is currently running an emergency Passover fundraising campaign to help meet needs just like Eliana’s … and Ruth’s, and Mordechai’s and Liya’s. For $1 a day, you can help feed a child like these children for a year.
To make a gift before Passover begins on March 31, click here >>
*Name changed out of respect for the needy.
This article was written in cooperation with Meir Panim.