JERUSALEM — Leading up to Passover, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is helping hundreds of thousands of Jews prepare for a joyous holiday, especially those who might otherwise not be able to celebrate. The Fellowship has announced they are dedicating $3 million to help more than 215,000 Jews observe Passover in Israel, in poverty-stricken regions of the former Soviet Union, and elsewhere around the world. The Fellowship is also providing an additional $82,500 to soup kitchens in Israel that were planning to host their usual Passover seder meals before the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close their doors. These funds will help the soup kitchens instead distribute Passover seder emergency food boxes. Initiatives like these are essential at a time when unemployment has rapidly increased throughout Israel.
Through a variety of carefully curated partners and direct operations, The Fellowship has identified the best ways to help the communities most in need during this holy season for the Jewish people. This aid will come in the form of 75,000 food boxes, over 130,000 boxes of matzah, food cards for use at local supermarkets, clothing cards, and all the special Passover foods needed to celebrate the Passover seder meal. The extensive food distribution provided by The Fellowship is available to families and the elderly, including Holocaust survivors. Assistance is also provided to 8,500 IDF soldiers and their families.
“This is only possible because of the love Christians have for Israel and her people – love that they show through prayer and sacrificial giving to The Fellowship’s lifesaving programs,” said Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of The Fellowship. “Especially amazing this year is that the Jewish philanthropic community has joined our lifesaving efforts as well.”
“Without the generosity of our supporters, so many Jews would suffer without the basic care they need just to survive. That care takes on even more significance during holidays like Passover, when needy Jews want only to observe the sacred time with dignity and according to biblical commandments. One of the hardest things for me is delivering the food boxes to elderly people in need who have tears of joy in their eyes, and I am not able to hug them. But the virus has not stopped our supporters from showing love nor will it prevent the Jewish people from receiving it.”
In the weeks leading up to the holiday, Fellowship staff and volunteers deliver this aid. The recipients are always deeply grateful and appreciative of this help at this time of the year. The food nourishes their bodies – but, even more than this, it feeds the soul by providing the priceless gift of dignity to Jews who otherwise might have gone hungry this Passover.
From his home in an impoverished town in Israel’s Negev desert, Uriel, a father of eight, ties The Fellowship aid he receives at Passover back to the holiday’s biblical roots. “Passover symbolizes freedom,” he says. “When you have the things you need, you feel a personal freedom… It warms my heart and strengthens my faith to know that people thousands of miles away who don’t know me want to help. I want them to know that we think of them when we sit at the seder table. They are doing what God wants, for us to help others.”
To learn more about what The Fellowship is doing to help those in need during Passover, click here.