JERUSALEM, Sept. 5 — Thanks to the support of millions of Christians worldwide, the Jerusalem-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (“The Fellowship”) is distributing $1.55 million, or 5.6 million Israeli shekels, worth of clothing and food vouchers to 109,000 Israelis including low-income families, the elderly and children, as well as Lone Soldiers – those who serve in the Israel Defense Forces with no immediate family in Israel – for the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah.
The annual Rosh Hashanah aid provides gift cards of various amounts for the recipients to purchase their choice of clothing and food in popular national chain stores in a discreet manner that assures their dignity and privacy.
“Israel is suffering from a severe social crisis, rampant poverty and intolerable social gaps. During the holiday period, the distress of living in poverty is augmented as tens of thousands of families shed tears wondering how they will manage to set the table for the holiday,” said The Fellowship’s Founder and President, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
The aid includes:
- 2,760 food vouchers feeding about 11,000 members of single-parent families living in public housing and families supported by the national program for health security;
- 19,890 food baskets and vouchers to feed about 80,000 members of disadvantaged families and senior citizens via the charity associations Chom and Mifal Hachesed Yad B’Yad;
- 8,300 clothing vouchers in the national FOX chain store for children living in welfare institutions and shelters for abused women;
- 10,000 grants for the purchase of clothing and food for Lone Soldiers and soldiers eligible for welfare aid;
Beyond the Rosh Hashanah aid to Israel’s most vulnerable people, The Fellowship this year is also operating a Fellowship Hotline, at *9779, which will accept appeals from anyone suffering from financial or social adversity. The Fellowship will collaborate with hundreds of other charity and aid societies to help meet the needs of such appeals and others.
“Every day we receive hundreds of requests for aid from the physically disabled, senior citizens and families living in severe states of scarcity from the sore lack of social infrastructure in Israel,” Eckstein said.
Outside of Israel, The Fellowship is also supporting an additional 115,000 vulnerable Jews throughout the former Soviet Union and in Morocco, with $1.25 million in aid for the High Holy Days.