Believing ministries that help the poor in Israel – Part 2
Passover food distribution at Tents of Mercy (Photo courtesy)
As the Israel National Health Institute has announced, some 1.8 million Israelis live below the poverty line.
KNI recently featured five believing ministries that meet the needs of the poor here. In part two, we highlight another five local and international ministries that bring aid to Israelis.
Bridges for Peace (BFP) is a multi-faceted international organization that focuses on “Christians supporting Israel and building relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world.”
BFP helps to feed Israel’s poor through two major food banks: one in Carmiel in northern Israel and the other in Jerusalem. Between them these centers process 3 tons of food every working day. The food is distributed to Holocaust survivors, new immigrants, orphans, destitute Jewish and Arab children and Jewish community centers. All the food is bought in Israel, thus simultaneously meeting kosher standards and contributing to the Israeli economy.
A BFP warehouse in Carmiel also stores 500 tons of food for use in times of war or other crises. This supply is enough to sustain the ministry’s recipients for eight months.
Volunteers are invited to pack the food for delivery, though as the website emphasizes, a strong back is needed for this type of work).
Based in New York, Jezreel International (JZRL) is a humanitarian aid organization that has shipped food and many other necessities to over 40 countries, including Israel.
Founded by Barry Feinman in 1996, JZRL seeks to answer the call in Isaiah “to extend ourselves to the hungry, clothe the naked and satisfy the afflicted soul.” (Isaiah 58:10)
“Because we believe there is a Biblical mandate to help Jews with material blessingsJezreel has been shipping 40-foot containers to Israel for more than 20 years,” Feinman told KNI.
“Our containers are filled with all types of needed items such as bedding, clothing, medical supplies, furniture, diapers and more,” Feinman added. “In 2017 we shipped six of them to the land.”
The JZRL website suggests volunteers are welcomed to collect items for distribution “through their church or congregation, school, women’s, men’s and youth groups, family, friends and workplace.”
Warehouse volunteers are also welcomed to help sort and pack donated goods.
King’s Kindness is a humanitarian aid project developed by King of Kings Community Jerusalem. Providing for needy Israelis, the project includes a food and clothing distribution set up as boutique with seating for those who wish to have coffee and fellowship with one another and with volunteers.
Moreover, the “Manna” Soup Kitchen is arranged like a restaurant where “customers” are waited on by volunteers.
“The Distribution Center has been operating for almost three years,” KKCJ Executive Assistant Anya Teptereva told KNI. “Families are referred to us by the Jerusalem social services and humanitarian organizations.”
“In the Distribution Center they receive food packages (including a bag of dry goods and 2 to 3 kilos of frozen meat), cleaning supplies and second hand clothes and shoes,” Teptereva explained. “Depending on the families’ size, they are served twice or four times a month for an overall period of six months.”
The Manna Soup Kitchen has been open for more than two years.
“It provides kosher nutritious hot meals which include a variety of fresh salads, soup, main dish, tea, coffee and dessert,” Teptevera said.
Some 90 to 100 people attend the soup kitchen once or twice a week including the elderly, handicapped people, new immigrants and the homeless.
“The whole atmosphere is inviting and pleasant and many people stay and enjoy themselves even after they finish their meal,” Teptevera added.
Based in the north of Israel and founded by Messianic leader Eitan Shishkoff, Tents of Mercy (ToM) is dedicated to planting congregations and giving to the needy in Israel.
The ministry is registered as an Israeli charity for the purpose of providing food, clothing and household goods to the needy, with “no strings attached.” Counseling is also offered to those who want it.
“All of the congregations in [the Tents of Mercy] network are deeply committed to helping the poor,” the ToM website says.
Indeed, two of the planted congregations have opened soup kitchens and each serve 1,500 hot meals a month.
5. Bless Israel
Bless Israel (BI) is an American organization of believers based in Minnesota who have determined to bless poor and needy Israelis in material ways.
“We exist to help Israeli victims of terrorism, to supply food and clothing to Israelis living below the poverty line, to be a light to the Jewish people by fostering cooperation and friendship between Jews and Christians,” the Bless Israel website affirms.
Co-founded by Jerry and Gloria Whittlef and Judah and Kristin Himango, Bless Israel is a 501c3 organization that raises money to send to reputable charities in Israel. Among the charities that benefit from Bless Israel is the Joseph Project, featured in part 1 of this review.
The organization raises money through events such as Hannukah parties and other annual events through private donations.
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward them for what they have done.” – Proverbs 19:17
EDITOR’S NOTE: This list is not exclusive. Many other Messianic ministries serve the poor in Israel, and we plan to highlight more humanitarian ministries on KNI in the coming weeks including the Joshua Fund, Dugit/Agape Distribution and others. Also click here to visit the KNI Directory of Messianic ministries in Israel to find other such organizations.
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Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.