ANNUAL REPORT 2018
January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018
I am delighted to share with you Leket Israel’s 2018 Annual Report, which summarizes our activities over the past year.
During 2018, Leket Israel distributed 30 million pounds of rescued food, including 2.2 million hot meals, to our 200 nonprofit agency partners such as schools, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and more.
With your support, Leket Israel has made inroads into developing new programs and continuing our mission of rescuing fresh, nutritious food to feed hungry Israelis.
In 2018, Leket Israel:
Was instrumental in passing the Food Donation Act in the Knesset – On October 23, 2018, the Food Donation Act was passed in the Knesset. This law removes liability from anyone along the food donation supply chain.
Opened a new hub in the north – In November 2018, Leket Israel opened a new hub at Eshel Binyamin Soup Kitchen in Tzfat. This hub will allow Leket Israel to collect cooked food from nearby army bases and distribute these meals to a soup kitchen in Tzfat and a distribution center in Nahariya. Leket Israel will be able to provide 150 hot meals per day to the needy in the north of the country, thanks to the opening of this hub.
Developed a growing partnership with JNF – In April, JNF Australia selected Leket Israel as the recipient of their Blue Box Campaign. As a result, I took my first trip to Australia, where I visited synagogues and schools all over the country. Following this successful campaign, Leket Israel was selected as JNF Toronto’s beneficiary of the 2018 Negev Dinner. We are grateful to our new partners and look forward to a fruitful relationship in the future.
In January, we welcomed Yossi Markovich as Chief Financial Officer of Leket Israel. Yossi came with a wealth of knowledge and many years of experience, having previously worked as CFO of Rushdie Food Industries. Since joining Leket, Yossi has implemented significant changes in the organization by introducing new software and systems. These changes enable Leket to manage rescue operations in real time, leading to greater efficiency.
After 15 years of continuous growth, Leket Israel is heading into 2019 with clear, attainable qualitative goals. We will remain focused on providing nutritious, rescued food to Israel’s needy, and will continue to push forward our agenda on the parliamentary level.
Thank you once again for your support throughout these past 15 years. I look forward to our continued partnership for many years to come.
Founder and Chairman
Leket at a Glance
Activity Highlights • 2018
Making an Impact on all Fronts
Impacting Health: Pilot Nutrition Workshops for Parents and Children
The “Nutrition for Life” program is a nutrition workshop series that Leket Israel has been operating since 2009. Through these workshops, Leket Israel provides knowledge and tools for healthy eating to the needy. Following the initial success of the program, Leket recently launched a pilot workshop for parents and children in low socio-economic populations throughout Israel.
The workshops, taught by certified nutritionists, are offered in Hebrew, Russian, Arabic and Amharic. The content emphasizes proper nutrition and the importance of healthy eating habits while on a limited budget. Through hands-on activities, parents and children learn together how to accept responsibility to choose healthy foods and prepare dishes together. The workshops also emphasize the connection between parents and children and facilitate communication skills within the family.
Surveys conducted at the end of the workshop series compare the participants’ eating habits before and after completing the program. Results have shown that over 40% of the participants, many of whom were not previously eating fresh produce on a daily basis, improved their eating habits and consumed more vegetables and fruits after the conclusion of the program.
“Based on the success of this pilot project,” said Smadar Hod Ovadia, Director of Nutrition and Food Safety at Leket Israel, “we have decided to integrate the parent-child workshops into our repertoire of nutrition education programming.”
Impacting Legislation: The Law That Will Change the Face of Food Rescue in Israel
Over the years, the number of Israelis suffering from food insecurity has increased, and now includes many more working poor families and children. At the same time, many corporate cafeterias and hotels have refrained from donating their surplus food out of fear of civil or criminal liability.
After 10 years of Leket Israel’s intensive lobbying efforts, the “Food Donation Act” was passed into law in October 2018 to encourage the rescue of excess food. This milestone was enacted with the support of ministers, members of Knesset, and professionals within the Ministries of Justice, Health, and Social Affairs.
“The law exempts the entire food donation supply chain from civil and criminal liability,” noted Gidi Kroch, CEO of Leket Israel, “starting with the food donor, through the non-profit organizations as a legal entity, and the employees and volunteers in the non-profit organizations.”
“The impact of the law is enormous,” Kroch continued. “The Food Donation Act opens the door to hundreds of organizations and businesses that are not currently taking part in donating food because of the previous uncertainty regarding protection against claims.” He believes that the law will triple the scope of food donations and significantly expand Leket Israel’s food rescue activities. The organization will then be able to better address food insecurity in Israel.
Kroch concludes: “The Knesset passed the law thanks to the encouragement of MK Eli Elalouf, Chairman of the Welfare and Health Committee, and led by MK Uri Maklev, along with Members of Knesset Moshe Gafni, Orly Levy-Abekis, Hilik Bar, Moti Yogev and Shuli Moalem.”
Impacting Lives: Meal by Meal
Recently, Leket Israel began delivering fresh rescued food to a Shelter for Homeless Young Women in Jerusalem. This shelter is part of ELEM – Youth in Distress in Israel’s Project Galgal, a program that assists homeless young adults; primarily women aged 18-26. The shelter provides a safe place to sleep, as well as medical care, clothing, laundry facilities, showers, a caring person to talk to, access to social services, and a pathway to long-term rehabilitation.
Clementine, an employee at the shelter recalled: “When I started working at the shelter, we were unable to provide much food; maybe a bit of bread and cheese. The budget couldn’t be stretched to afford more than that.” At the time, the shelter was in a smaller facility that could only accommodate the women for one night.
Through the meal rescue program, Leket Israel started providing the shelter with dairy food rescued from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Once the shelter moved to a larger space and opened its doors 24/7, Leket Israel began supplying daily, hot lunches collected from nearby Jerusalem hotels and hi-tech companies, to better serve the recipients’ nutritional needs. Leket Israel is currently delivering 735 high-quality meals per month to the shelter.
Moshe Vaknin, a Leket Israel driver, on delivering meals to the shelter: “I take the stories of these young women home with me. They are so happy that we bring them food. If it wasn’t for Leket Israel, they wouldn’t have anything to eat.”
The hot meals have an impact far beyond nutrition. Since food deliveries began, more young women have been coming to the shelter because they know that they will receive a nutritious cooked meal. Once there, they have access to the shelter’s resources, enabling more homeless women an opportunity to receive health care, develop a sense of dignity, and embark on long-term recovery and rehabilitation into normative society.