to Princes and Paupers
the busy festival season, you might have thought that the
Executive Chef of a fully-booked five-star hotel would have enough work on
his plate. But Gavriel Shachar, of the Dan King David Hotel in Jerusalem,
decided that it was important to volunteer at Hazon
Yeshaya’s Soup Kitchen instead.
day Hazon Yeshaya serves hot, nutritious meals to 7,000
Israelis who have nothing else to eat. This includes children from poor
families, Holocaust survivors whose pensions do not cover the cost of
living, and poverty-stricken people from every sector of Israeli society
who just can’t afford to buy food. Every single recipient is verified by
Hazon Yeshaya’s social workers, and they are just part of the picture of
grinding poverty of which most supporters of Israel are unaware.
latest National Insurance Institute statistics show that 23.6%
of Israel’s population are classified as poor - an increase of 7.5%
since 2003. One in three
Israeli children lives below the poverty line – that’s 714,000
children living in hunger and neglect or a 50% increase in child poverty
over the last 15 years. Even those who work are suffering, because
Israel’s economic growth has not helped the lowest 30% of the
Gavriel Shachar himself grew up in a poor home with
insufficient food to eat, which is why he chose a career in catering to
lift himself out of poverty. He identifies with the work of Hazon Yeshaya
because they not only feed the poor but they also run vocational training
courses to help Israelis take the step from welfare to work. As well as
feeding thousands of children in schools, Hazon Yeshaya also runs
afternoon clubs where children can get help with their school work instead
of roaming aimlessly on the streets.
municipalities turn to Hazon Yeshaya for help but no government
money comes their way. Federations don’t like to support soup kitchens,
which leaves Hazon Yeshaya to raise its budget the hard way. That’s why
they are launching their Hunger Challenge and enlisting the help of those
who work with kosher food to aid Israel’s poor and starving citizens.
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