If you haven’t met already, I want to introduce you to Leket Israel. Founded in 2003, it’s an organization I’d heard a lot about but didn’t really experience until I went to volunteer with the kids earlier this week.
Here’s the backstory:
- Israel witnesses 35% food loss each year – that’s 2.5 million tons of food – 50% of which is suitable and could be passed along to those who need it.
- By the way, that food is worth 8 billion NIS.
- And 75% of that loss is fruits and vegetables.
Here’s what Leket does:
The organization makes an effort to save as much of this lost food as possible – by partnering with businesses and organizations like the IDF, restaurants and food manufacturers, to transfer extra or unused food to families that need it. The food is distributed to 190 NPOs operating around the country in providing resources for poverty-stricken citizens.
In 2015, 140,000 beneficiaries received food, food donated was valued at NIS 147 million, and 15,930 tons of food was supplied.
Here’s the volunteer opportunity:
Aside from donating or being in touch about potential partnerships, the main way for us to volunteer is Project Leket – joining Leket staff in their fields near Rehovot or in the north, and picking the season’s ripe crops. Groups or individuals are welcome to participate. My kids were 7 and 5 when we did it, in the dead heat of the summer… I asked the guide when the best time to bring kids is, and she said October – when the citrus is ready for picking and the weather is way friendlier.
The kids had a great time picking tomatoes. Working together, getting our hands dirty, we filled three boxes, and they were really proud of it. And they had a lot of questions about why food is wasted, who this food goes to, and how much food they’re getting.
All in all, I recommend this as a family activity. Be in touch with Project Leket by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 09-744175 to reserve a date and time to visit the fields and participate in this great initiative.