For the past few weeks, phones at Meir Panim have never stopped ringing. Meir Panim is one of Israel’s largest social organizations focused on the issue of poverty and food security. The period leading up to the Jewish holiday of Passover is always frantic – as many people need help.
“Even in a normal year, Passover is an expensive holiday for everyone, but for people in need, especially the newly poor due to rising inflation, this holiday seems impossible,” says Mimi Rozmaryn, Director of Global Development at Meir Panim.
Meir Panim runs five “Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens:” The organization operates in Tzfat, Jerusalem, Tiberias, Dimona and Or Akiva. Those who come to eat are served sit-down style, as they would be in a restaurant. The organization distributes over 1,000,000 meals every year with the help of some 3,000 volunteers.
Passover represents one of the highlights of the year, as the organization’s staff and volunteers work around the clock to make sure that everyone can celebrate the seder – the special meal of the first night – and the rest of the week-long festival comfortably.
“On a normal month, we may do 4,000 packages but for Passover we provide some 25,000 meals, 15,000 holiday baskets and two million shekel-worth of grocery shopping cards,” says Rozmaryn.
Thanks to Meir Panim’s efforts, Israelis in need therefore do not only receive help, but they are also offered support in the form that best suits their situation, including the ability of just going to a regular supermarket and buying their own groceries to cook for their families. For the NGO, treating people with dignity and respect is as much of a priority as assisting them with their material needs.
The branches of Tzfat and Dimona will offer a community seder for those who wish to attend.
Passover also marks a period when many Israelis join the ranks of Meir Panim to volunteer and make sure they give a hand to people who are less fortunate than them.
For example, in 2023, Meir Panim launched a joint project with the National Kibbutz Movement so that kibbutz members can volunteer in the organization’s branches and help prepare Passover boxes with matzah, grape juice, and everything else that is needed for the holiday.
However, the organization also needs financial support to make sure that it can continue to support Israelis in need. With $50 dollars, a donor can sponsor a regular monthly package, while a donation of $180 covers the cost of a holiday monthly package.
On Passover, Jews all over the world celebrate freedom from slavery and spiritual redemption. Meir Panim wants to make sure that Israelis in need can also celebrate freedom from poverty.
Help Meir Panim ensure that every child, widow, Holocaust survivor and elderly in Israel can celebrate freedom from poverty on Passover. Donate now.
This article was written in cooperation with Meir Panim.