Merav Levkowitz, Digital Content Manager and Editor of Jewish Food Experience, describes Leket Israel’s outstanding impact on food rescue and feeding the needy in her article about ‘Rescuing Food, Feeding Families.’
Merav explains, “in Israel, some 18 to 20 percent of the population is food insecure (that is, lacking reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food)…In the early 2000s, Joseph Gitler connected with catering companies and began driving his Subaru sedan up and down the country picking up surplus food that was fit for consumption and delivering it to nonprofits that serve the needy, such as soup kitchens, shelters and others. In 2003, Leket Israel was born.
Today Leket operates several programs to serve nearly 200 nonprofits across the country. In 2015, “Leket to Table” rescued 1,750,000 nutritious hot meals from hotels, catering companies, Israel Defense Forces bases and corporate cafeterias and delivered them to the poor.
“We like to think of ourselves as the FedEx of food,” says Deena Fiedler, Leket’s director of PR and resource development.
Leket also rescues goods—almost 1,700,000 pounds, including dairy products, snack foods and more, in 2015—from food manufacturers. In 2015, Project Leket Agricultural Gleaning initiative rescued 26,460,000 pounds of produce that would otherwise rot on trees or not be sold because it is not beautiful— think short, stubby carrots, curved cucumbers and small misshapen apples, shares Fiedler.
Last year Leket Israel published its inaugural food waste and rescue report to educate individuals on how much food is wasted (35 percent in Israel per year, or 2.5 million tons), in its effort to serve as a leading source of information on food waste and rescue in Israel.
As it continues to expand operations, Leket’s vision—’An Israel where all surplus, nutritious food is rescued and directed to those who need it’—and work are making Jewish mothers worldwide proud.”