Food for the Soul: Strengthening the Homeless with Healthy Food

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In recent months, Leket Israel began working with Otzma v’Koach (“power and strength”), a nonprofit organization that works to rehabilitate the homeless.  A unique partnership has developed in which Leket provides fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked food and runs Nutrition for Life workshops for the recipients.

The Founder and Director of Otzma v’Koach is David Agaev, 34, a married father of two who holds a Master’s degree in Education. David explains, “We serve a population that the state largely ignores and does not provide for. The organization operates six facilities in the center of the country, which house approximately 100 people. Many residents suffer from mental illness, are in need of advanced medical care and are in treatment for drug addiction. The objective is to offer rehabilitation in a normative neighborhood, with medical and recovery support, until these individuals are able to reenter the job market and reacclimate to society.

“During my first meeting with Leket, the nutritionist told me that I’m doing important work, however, by giving people in recovery food with little nutritional value, I was inadvertently damaging their health. At that moment, I realized how much things had to change. The condition for partnering with Leket Israel is to provide healthy food to our recipients, so I was quick to comply.  

“Today, after several months, our organization is seeing substantial benefits from this meaningful partnership. Financially, the expense of buying groceries has decreased dramatically. The money previously spent on groceries is now funding essential dental care, basic supplies and more. The health of the residents has improved as well, now that they are receiving nutritious food on a daily basis. But most importantly, the food is of high quality which improves the self-esteem and self-confidence of those in recovery. It makes the residents feel like they are worth something. And that is everything to me.”

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