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German Christians Give Hands-On Help to Israelis in Need

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25 Jun 2020
German Christians Give Hands-On Help to Israelis in Need

The ICEJ has long-standing relations with Pitchon Lev (“Open Heart”), an Israeli charity which operates three food distribution centers for the poor in the greater Tel Aviv area. As part of our on-going cooperation, the Christian Embassy for years has provided a van for them to make food deliveries. And from time to time, we send volunteer teams to help with their weekly ‘market’ for disadvantaged families.

During a tour through Israel before the Corona crisis hit, an ICEJ tour group from Germany spent a morning helping out at one of these distribution points set up each Thursday in the underground parking lot of a busy shopping center in Rishon LeZion. Here, volunteers come every week to pack bags of groceries and other items that are given to about one thousand “shoppers” – single parents, new immigrants, pensioners and other struggling families approved by social welfare to receive the food baskets. For only a few shekels, they come away with lots of food and a better feeling about themselves because they paid for their goods.

The German group began their hands-on experience by gathering around a van, decorated with the ICEJ logo and the Hebrew words “Israel, you are not alone”. For many years, ICEJ-Germany has been sponsoring the delivery van for Pitchon Lev. One staff member told the German visitors that, “without it, we would be unable to collect the goods that companies and farms donate to our three distribution centers in the country”.

Normally, several groups of volunteers help pack and distribute bread, vegetables, canned food, dairy products and other groceries. Yet on this day, the different packing stations were manned only by the German volunteers and a few retired Israelis who join in every week. “Without you, this distribution could not have taken place today”, assured the Pitchon Lev staffer.

The foreign visitors were excited to help out in such practical ways. With great enthusiasm, they collected the different goods and packed them in bags and shopping trolleys brought by the shoppers.

“I speak Russian and I could greet many of the recipients”, said Angelika Bauersachs.

Constanze Werner, age 15, added: “It is great to help people directly, to actually do something and not just donate money. It was very saddening to see so much poverty.”

An elderly Israeli man named Gabi has been volunteering at the Pitchon Lev weekly markets for 20 years now. His mother taught him at a young age to help the poor, he explained. “I grew up in Morocco. When I was four years old, I accompanied my mother taking food to the needy using a small cart. This has stuck with me.”

His friend Alexander shared his own reasons for serving at the market. “When my daughter got divorced, she and her three children received help here. If you receive help, you need to give help in return”, he said.

Originally from Romania, Alexander fought in the 1967 Six Day War and suffered a head injury that has lingered with him ever since. “But do I want to sit at home and complain? No, I get up and do something!” he insisted. “I want to thank the Christians who support Pitchon Lev with their donations”, Alexander added. “Well done! Everyone who gives is a blessing!”

Meantime, there is an exciting update to report. Thanks to the generous support of Christians worldwide, the ICEJ has now upgraded our Pitchon Lev delivery van to a refrigerated truck, which is already being used to pick up and deliver even bigger and fresher loads of donated food items for the poor. And yes, the ICEJ logo is displayed on the side of the delivery truck to let everyone know Christians support Israel and care for her needy!
 

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