Since the outbreak of Covid-19, almost half (44.6%) of Israelis are saying that they are worse off financially than they were before. According to a newly released government survey, one in seven Israelis fear that they will lose their homes and are cutting back on food consumption.
The Central Bureau of Statistics poll also found that more than 16% of people have reported great concern that they will lose their job and 14.1% are worried about losing their home.
The data appears to coincide with recent reports showing a rise in unemployment that went from below 4% at the beginning of the pandemic, to more than 27.6% towards the end of April.
The survey also revealed that 46.5% of Israelis worry that they won’t be able to cover all of their expenses while 14.1% say that they or a member of their household has had to cut back on the amount of food they consume each week.
One organization believes that no Israeli should be left without a meal – no matter how dire their financial situation may be. That’s why Meir Panim is ramping up their efforts to provide warm meals to all of Israel’s hungry.
But their mission isn’t easy and above all, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented financial challenges. Meir Panim relies on food donations from local hotels and event halls. But after the Health Ministry ordered all hotels to close and events to be cancelled, Meir Panim suddenly found itself having to adjust to these new regulations and seek a new way of replacing food items that were previously donated. Additionally, due to lockdown measures, they had to expand their Meals-on-Wheels program and their iconic Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens transitioned into takeaway and meal delivery centers.
This turned their mission of providing meals to Israel’s hungry into a logistical nightmare. Meir Panim overcame that challenge by delivering over 100,000 meals each month as they were determined to meet the sudden increase in food demand. But they can’t do it alone. They need your help.
Meir Panim’s network of Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens throughout Israel serves Israelis of all backgrounds who share one thing in common – hunger. It’s a plague that devastates Israel no less than the coronavirus itself.
No one is immune, including a Jerusalem resident named Hagai. Hagai (not his real name) is 58 years old, originally from San Francisco, and moved to Israel along with his wife and two sons. In the United States, he went to University and law school and was a successful, practicing lawyer. Upon moving to Israel, he found his law degree from the United States worthless. It took him a couple of years to pivot, but eventually he found work.
Due to the lower salaries here, and especially given that he couldn’t use his law degree, Hagai and his family were never really able to build up savings or an emergency fund. When the pandemic hit, his workplace shut down and although he filed for unemployment, the checks didn’t come as quickly as he needed. Their family prioritized paying rent but had no money left to buy food and other basic necessities. They became deeply worried about the well-being of their family.
Hagai emailed Meir Panim and was quickly connected with our Jerusalem Branch and then he started picking up meals for himself and his family daily.
While still out of work, the unemployment benefits finally started coming in and he feels more positive about being able to move forward and find a new job. Hagai knows that he is welcome to come to the Branch any time and take food home if the need persists.
Hagai is so grateful that his family’s moment of crisis seems to have passed saying, “My company went out of business and I had no job prospects on the horizon. Every door in front of me was closed. If you look at me at face value you would never think I would be someone who needed help. Nowadays, because of the economic fallout due to the Coronavirus, anyone can fall through the cracks. Meir Panim has truly helped me in my moment of need.”
Now can be your chance to help Meir Panim in their efforts. All you need to do is give. Simply donate to https://give.meirpanim.org/coronavirus-2/ and give whatever you can to ensure that no person in Israel goes to bed hungry.
This is your opportunity to help rebuild the nation of Israel by feeding an empty stomach. Donate to Meir Panim today and you can double your impact!