Leket Beet January 2018

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The monthy update for our most dedicated supporters from CEO Gidi Kroch

In this edition:

  • The Knesset: Leket’s Newest Hot Meal Donor
  • Cabbage Harvest from a New Kibbutz
  • Spotlight on a Leket Israel NPO Partner: Project Galgal Shelter for Homeless Young Women in Jerusalem – ELEM
  • Food Waste Cooking Workshop Featured in Israeli Media
  • Leket’s Nutrition Department 2017 Highlights
  • Welcome to New Chief Financial Officer, Yossi Markovich

The Knesset and Israel Electric Company: New and Renewed Food Donor Partnerships

With the start of the New Year, on January 2nd the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) began donating the surplus food from their staff cafeteria. Around 100 meals each day are collected and brought to the Nitzav Refael soup kitchen in Jerusalem.

Four years ago, Ohad Levy, an employee at the Israel Electric Company (IEC), contacted Leket Israel after learning about the organization from a radio program. Our staff responded enthusiastically to the opportunity of collecting surplus food from one of Israel’s largest companies. Soon Amit Overkovitch the VP of Human Resources joined Ohad Levy in championing the partnership and Leket Israel began collecting surplus meals from IEC.

On January 21, with a move to the L. Eshel catering company, Leket Israel signed a new agreement with the Israel Electric Company, celebrating and expanding our rewarding partnership. Now, IEC supplies over 400 lbs. of surplus cooked food for the needy every weekday; Approximately 120 meals from the Haifa offices, 90 meals from the Central District offices and 95 meals from the Southern District offices, both in Tel Aviv.

Other new food donors this month include:

  • SAP, a hi-tech software company located next door to our Ra’anana Logistics Center
  • Egged 215 Artillery IDF base
  • Liav Catering Company
  • Shikun U’Binui – a major global real estate & development company based in Airport City
  • Jerusalem headquarters of the Israel Prison Service

We look forward to long and fruitful partnerships will all of our new food suppliers.   

First food pick-up at the Knesset (left). Opening of partnership with Israel Electric Company (above).

Cabbage Harvest from a New Kibbutz

Due to a low market price, farmers at Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov – Ichud were planning on destroying their cabbage crop instead of harvesting it. Fortunately, our staff made contact with one of the farmers before he turned over his land. At first, the farmer was only willing to let us pick what we could in one day, but he was so impressed with the professionalism and efficiency of Leket Israel’s staff that he invited us back for a second day. Over the two days, we rescued 130 tons of fresh, nutritious cabbage and in addition, built a relationship with a new farmer and kibbutz.

Spotlight on Leket NPO Partner:

Project Galgal Shelter for Homeless Young Women in Jerusalem – ELEM

Eight months ago, Leket Israel began delivering rescued food to the Shelter for Homeless Young Women in Jerusalem, part of the ELEM – Youth in Distress in Israel’s Project Galgal, a program that assists homeless youth. Most of the women who use the shelter are 18-26 years old and suffer from drug addiction, a complete lack of social support and are involved in prostitution. The shelter provides a safe place to sleep as well as medical care, clothing, laundry, showers, a caring person to talk to, access to social services and a pathway to long-term rehabilitation.

Clementine, an employee at the shelter relates, “A year ago, when I started working at the shelter, there wasn’t much food; maybe a bit of bread and white cheese, occasionally some apples, if we were lucky. The budget couldn’t be stretched to buy more than that.” At the time, the shelter was in a smaller facility that could only offer to accommodate the young women overnight.

At that time, Leket began providing the shelter with dairy breakfast food rescued from the King David Hotel. Not long after, the decision was made to switch to meat meals because of food safety considerations and to better serve the young women’s nutritional needs. Last April, the shelter was able to move into a larger facility and opened its doors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since the move, Leket Israel has been supplying a daily, hot lunch collected from Jerusalem police stations, a local army base and a hi-tech company.

Leket Israel driver, Moshe Vaknin, delivers rescued food to the shelter every weekday.  “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 us, they wouldn’t have anything to eat. They are wonderful people who have endured a lot of hardship in life. I can see that for these young women just knowing that someone cares enough to bring them food, has an enormous positive effect on them.”

Clementine continues, “For most of the women, the food provided by Leket Israel is their only source of essential nutrients. The meals always contain protein and vegetables and the health benefits they so urgently need. If it wasn’t for this food, our recipients would have nothing to eat but the occasional cheap fast food or having to pull food out of the garbage.”

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 be fed.  Once there, they have access to the shelter’s resources, enabling more homeless women a chance to receive adequate care, dignity, long-term recovery and rehabilitation into society.

“We always tell them that the food comes from Leket Israel. They understand the value of not wasting food because they have nothing to waste. They, and we, are truly grateful,” Clementine concludes.

Food Waste Cooking Workshop Featured in Israeli Media

On January 3rd, Turkish-French-Jewish chef Sibel Pinto gave an exclusive cooking workshop at our Founder and Chairman, Joseph Gitler’s house using the parts of fruits and vegetables that would normally be thrown away. Sibel runs Action Kashkarikas, an organization dedicated to reducing food waste by cooking with the less used parts of fruits and vegetables and other leftovers.  Kashkarikas is a traditional Turkish-Sephardic dish made with zucchini peels. The cooking workshop was featured on TV, radio and in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

Leket’s Nutrition Department 2017 Highlights

This year saw a significant increase in adherence to and more effective monitoring of food safety guidelines at Leket Israel’s partner NPOs with the transfer of the site inspectors from the Agency Relations department to the Nutrition Department.


Posters explaining the basics of how to handle food safely were distributed to all NPO partners who receive cooked food.  

In 2017, Leket ran 59 “Nutrition for Life” workshops which educated 807 participants about how to live healthier lives. The workshops were given by 18 registered dieticians in four languages to impoverished single mothers and other at-risk populations throughout Israel.

Leket in Color: The fruits and vegetables rescued by Leket Israel in 2017 were:

  • Orange – 33% (carrots, sweet potatoes, clementines, etc.)
  • Green – 25% (cucumbers, zucchini, celery, etc.)
  • White – 18% (potatoes, cabbage, etc.)
  • Red – 12% (apples, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Purple – 12% (eggplant, beets, etc.)

Welcome to New Chief Financial Officer, Yossi Markovich

After 6 years of dedicated service, CFO Mickey Brandt has left Leket Israel. During his tenure, Mickey contributed tremendously to the organization’s growth and stability.

In his place, we are delighted to welcome Yossi Markovich as Leket Israel’s new CFO. Yossi comes with a wealth of knowledge and many years of experience, having previously worked as CFO of Rushdie Food Industries. He is a registered accountant with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Business Management. He is 42 years old and lives with his wife and four children in Hadera.

We wish Yossi the best of luck and are confident that he will help Leket Israel grow in the coming years.

Questions, comments or feedback? Please contact [email protected]

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