South Flordia Sun Sentinel on Voluntourism at Leket Israel

lurie-smallLeket Israel — the leading nonprofit food rescue organization in Israel — is on track to host 20,000 volunteers from abroad in 2016, a 31-percent increase from 2015.

Volunteers can contribute to the food collection efforts at Leket’s logistics center in Ra’anana — where they sort and pack food — or in the rural farming fields in Nahalal — where they pick excess produce for distribution to the needy.

“It is amazing that so many foreign travelers are willing to take time out of their vacation to come support the Israeli community,” said Leket Israel Founder and Chairman Joseph Gitler in an email. “Their work directly impacts the amount of fresh nutritious food that Leket Israel provides to the growing number of Israel’s poor.”

Lurie volunteered for the first and only time in June.”We really wanted to ‘get our hands dirty’ and help out. The story behind Leket Israel is inspirational and we’re glad to be a part of it,” she said.

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Another local family that volunteered for Leket Israel for the first time this past year is the Weisstein family. “One of the true joys of life is giving back to those less fortunate…Spending time gathering onions for disadvantaged families was quite meaningful for our children and helped put things in perspective,” said Weisstein.

More than 52,000 people volunteer with Leket Israel annually — many of whom come from the United States, Canada, South America and Europe.

According to Leek Israel’s 2016 Food Waste and Rescue Report, more than 2.5 million tons of edible food, valued at roughly $2 billion, is wasted in Israel annually and these “voluntourists” help to reduce this amount of food.”

Excerpted from sun-sentinel.com

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