(Meir Panim)

Many people are unaware of the the needs of their impoverished neighbors or marginalize those who struggle to have a proper meal each day. Meir Panim charity organization strives to combat this reality through a creative network of social welfare programs. The organization recently opened its doors even wider than usual to welcome residents from the communities which house Meir Panim’s Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens in order to humanize hunger.

“Though Meir Panim welcomes anyone who enters our feeding centers, no questions asked, we encouraged each of our five branches, located throughout Israel, to arrange festive Hanukkah celebrations, not only for our patrons but also for residents nearby,” explained Mimi Rozmaryn, Director of Global Development for Meir Panim. “All the attendees enjoyed the food, entertainment and holiday spirit and also experienced the warmth and care between those who have and those who lack.”

Meir Panim was started 17 years ago in memory of a boy named Meir who died from a rare kidney disease. This disease forced Meir to be fed through tubes, never having the joy of tasting actual food.

Meir passed shortly after his bar mitzvah. His name, which means “from light,” encouraged his family to establish Meir Panim so that thousands of hungry Israelis could enjoy meals that their son never could.

Following the recent publication of a poverty report by the Latest food-saving organization, which states that 533,000 Israeli households live in poverty, Member of Knesset Amir Peretz said, “The situation in which Israel is a rich country and over one million of its children are poor is a stain on the country’s forehead. The continued abandonment of these children is also the abandonment of economic and technological realization potential in every child as he grows up, because poor and hungry children cannot realize their potential.”

Rather than waiting for Israel’s government to improve the living situation of Israel’s poor and stop the vicious cycle of poverty, Meir Panim maintains a network of holistic social welfare programs. These not only include the immediate need of providing fresh, nutritious meals through their soup kitchens and Meals-on-Wheels programs, but also includes after school youth clubs that provide mentors, tutors and enriching activities.

Recognizing that loneliness often plagues poor, elderly people and many Holocaust survivors, Meir Panim arranges special activities for this population including a choir in their northern Safed branch and volunteer visitors to the homes of the elderly throughout the country.

Peretz continued by stating that welfare organizations are doing “holy work” even while the government is lacking in this arena. To that end, Meir Panim relies on the generous donations of those who care about the welfare of Israel’s struggling populations and the future of the country.

“With 2018 coming to an end, we wish everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year,” said Rozmaryn. “We hope that you will consider making your end of year, tax-deductible contribution to Meir Panim and make a real difference to the lives of thousands of impoverished Israelis.”

To donate to Meir Panim, please click here.