The monthy update for our most dedicated supporters from CEO Gidi Kroch
First Harvest in Our New Binyamina Field
The first harvest has begun at our new field in Binyamina, generously purchased for us by Pastor George Annadorai and Shalom Israel Asia Pacific. On October 15, Pastor George and 150 SIAP members came for the ribbon cutting ceremony and inaugural harvest at the 65 dunam (16 acre) field. The volunteers from across the Southeast Asia and Pacific region gathered over 1600 kilos of sweet potatoes for the needy. Some volunteers from Singapore marveled at the opportunity to work in the earth, something they can’t do in their urban country while other volunteers from Papua New Guinea kicked off their shoes and showed us their expert harvesting skills (sweet potato is one of their staple crops that many of them grow in their yards). The Binyamina field, which will soon contain 5 dunams (1.24 acres) of greenhouses as well as open field, will enable us to ensure a more reliable supply of the most in-demand and nutritious vegetables for our NPO partners.
Photos: Orly Landau
Sukkot Open Day
On October 8, over 350 volunteers from around the world came to harvest green clementines as part of our annual Sukkot Open Picking Day. Many of the volunteers were extended, multi-generational families who came to help feed the needy together. Even a drizzle in the afternoon did not dampen the volunteers’ enthusiasm. Eight thousand kilos of vitamin-C rich fruit were harvested which were then delivered to the needy as the rainy autumn season began.
One Simple Action Can Feed Thousands
We will soon begin collecting surplus hot meals from the elite, international Crowne Plaza hotel chain – all thanks to one email from a supporter. Joshua Schiffman of West Orange, NJ recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach hotel while visiting Israel. Being a supporter of Leket and aware of the terrible issue of food waste, he was taken aback by the amount of food prepared and then thrown away. Joshua decided to intervene and spoke with management at the hotel. He received their approval for Leket to contact them and immediately put us in touch with a contact at the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv Beach hotel. This contact led to a meeting with the Head Chef of the Crowne Plaza hotel chain in Israel. The Head Chef was very impressed by our operations and food safety practices, spoke to all of the chefs in his network about Leket and shared their contact information with us. We are now in discussions with hotels in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat and the Dead Sea and are working towards collecting surplus hot meals from all of the hotels in the Crowne Plaza chain. Thousands of gourmet, surplus hot meals will now be redirected to those in need instead of ending up in landfill – all thanks to one person’s initiative.
A few days earlier, on October 3, we received a call from a truck driver who had 30 tons of high-quality grapefruit in his truck that he was supposed to bring to landfill. He decided that instead of wasting perfect edible and nutritious food, he would bring it to us so we could distribute it onward to the poor. This driver had brought us similar deliveries before. Normally, an unexpected donation like this wouldn’t present an issue, but this call came on the last day before the Sukkot holiday break and the entire staff was attending an annual meeting. Despite the fact that the Ra’anana Logistics Center was already technically closed up for the holiday, after the meeting most of Leket’s staff went over to sort, pack and store the grapefruit in the refrigerated storage rooms so that it would be fresh and ready for delivery after the holiday. As the colder rainy season begins, these grapefruit will provide a dose of immune-boosting vitamin C to hundreds of needy families who would otherwise not able to afford it. We are grateful for all of our dedicated employees who care deeply about our mission to rescue nutritious food for those in need and who are always ready to do what needs to be done.
September 2017: By The Numbers
Pre Rosh Hashanah Cooking Class Benefits Leket
For the second time, professional chef Shawna Goodman Sone generously opened her home, along with Lisa Low to host a pre-holiday cooking class in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. Approximately 40 participants learned recipes featuring traditional holiday foods and had the opportunity to purchase items from several local craftspeople. All of the proceeds from the evening were donated to Leket which brought in 12,000+ NIS.
Focus on Food Safety
Leket’s nutrition education department is focused on maintaining and improving our strict standards of food safety. All members of the department, which now include the three site inspectors who were formerly part of our NPO relations department, recently participated in a professional training course. In addition, food safety workshops have been run for the staff at several of our larger non-profit partners. We will continue to remain vigilant that all of the food that we rescue and distribute is high quality and safe.
Prestigious Prize for Leket Food Waste and Rescue Report
Leket’s Israeli public relations firm, Kramer Davidovich, was recently awarded the Roaring Lion (HaAryeh HaShoeg) prize for their work on the Leket-BDO Food Waste and Rescue Report. The prize is the most highly regarded in the field of Public Relations in Israel. The pioneering report was the first to investigate the issues of food waste in Israel and has helped increase public awareness of the issues of food waste and nutritional insecurity. The third annual edition of the report is expected in February 2018.
Media Coverage to Help Reduce Holiday Food Waste
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is a time to gather friends and family together for festive holiday meals with seemingly endless, delicious holiday dishes. As Israelis headed to the supermarket to buy food for Rosh Hashanah, Leket was featured across Israeli media to raise awareness of the issue of holiday overbuying and offered tips to reduce personal food waste.
A segment about Leket Israel and food waste was featured on Israel’s leading Channel 10 nightly news which included interviews with Lisa Moon, President and CEO of the Global FoodBanking Network and yours truly. Our Director of Marketing, Anat Friedman-Coles, was also interviewed on Sogrim Cheshbon, a financial news program.
Massimiliano, winner of Master Chef Israel season 5, partnered with Leket for an article in the Yediot Acharonot newspaper. Other articles featuring Leket were published in Israel Hayom, Ynet and Yediot Acharonot and I was interviewed on Reshet Bet radio.