According to the latest poverty statistics, approximately 28% of Israel’s children live below the poverty line. Tragically, many of these children don’t receive even one hot meal a day, a fact that Fellowship-supported The Jaffa Institute is seeking to change with its Hot Meal for Every Child program.
At four locations in northern Israel, this program provides a warm, nutritious meal in a safe after-school program, where the children also receive help with homework and counseling as needed. The hot meals arrive in Jaffa centers half-cooked. Before the children arrive, the food is heated by one of the staff members until they are ready to serve the food to the children.
The program aims to help the children break the cycle of poverty in which they were born, giving them more opportunities for a successful future.
Warm Meals Change a Young Girl’s Life
Hanna loves to play clarinet. When one looks at this energetic, healthy 11-year-old girl practicing with the orchestra at Bat Yam After-School Center, it’s hard to imagine the shy, underweight girl who arrived at the Fellowship-funded center three years ago.
Hanna is one of six siblings. Her parents made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in the late 1990s, and her father began working as a taxi driver and her mother found work as a maid. Hanna’s parents love their children, but they never earned enough money to provide adequate food for the entire family. Hanna did poorly during her first few years of school – she was tired and irritable and was always struggling to stay focused on her work.
But a month or so after joining the Fellowship-funded after-school center, where she received hot meals on a daily basis, Hanna began to change. She began to look healthier and happier, and her concentration improved, allowing her to focus on her love for music. Without these meals, Hanna would still be an underweight, underachieving student; three years of nutritious lunches later, she is a flourishing young musician, sharing her music with her community, thanks to The Fellowship.