web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Home
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Meir Panim: Lighting Up Life for Israel’s Neediest Residents

Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Children playing at the Meir Panim summer camp.

Children playing at the Meir Panim summer camp.
Photo Credit: Meir Panim

Charity in Or Akiva, a town in Northern Israel near Caeseria, goes beyond traditional packaged food deliveries, soup kitchens and after-school clubs for the needy. Ilanit Hafuta, director of Meir Panim’s Or Akiva branch, has a tremendous heart and endless commitment to help her neighbors. Hafuta runs a vast amount of the community’s charity operations.

Across Israel, the not-for-profit organization Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs. Since 2000, the organization annually has served at least 300,000 free meals out of a network of restaurant-style soup kitchens, which also prepare meals-on-wheels for delivery to an additional 125,000 people. Meir Panim also targets children in impoverished areas, offering hot lunches, after-school clubs and summer day camps. All programs give dignity, respect and relief to many of the country’s neediest residents.

These projects run strong in Or Akiva, with hundreds of people participating in the meal programs and the beloved after-school programs daily. But Hafuta has not stopped there.

For Jewish holidays, she ensures that there is always something special. “Purim is a favorite for the children in our after-school programs,” she says, explaining that she hands out free costumes every year so that the children whose parents cannot afford costumes can be included in the fun. “At the Meir Panim branch, we host a festive Purim seudah (feast) for families to celebrate the day,” Hafuta says. “We host a special Purim party, too, for the children.” Last year, the party joined with a school in London, where Skype hosted a simultaneous celebration for the kids.

“The most remarkable thing is taking our children from our after-school clubs, who are usually on the receiving end, to hospitals and army bases on Purim,” Hafuta explains. “There, they give out mishloach manot to those who also are in need. This experience teaches that they can also give and not just receive. The children feel an incredible amount of pride and joy in this, and they learn the important value of giving.” Beyond the holidays, every family goes through certain momentous lifecycle events. For Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, Meir Panim extends a hand to needy Or Akiva residents. “Our two-story Meir Panim building is transformed into a simcha and event hall,” Hafuta says. In the months prior to the Bar Mitzvah, a teacher will volunteer to train the boy in learning the Torah portion and the blessings for the Torah and Tefillin. On the Bar Mitzvah date, the boy is called up to the Torah at Meir Panim. The occasion is marked with a celebratory meal with family and friends. For weddings, preparations are made with the help of the community of volunteers and the new couple is married in the event hall, complete with full celebrations.

Sometimes, there are less joyous occasions and Meir Panim volunteers step in to help. “In the past several years, we have helped renovate some 30 homes of needy Or Akiva residents,” Hafuta says, explaining that many of the elderly, the ill and single-parent families in her town live in disastrous conditions. Depending on the need and case, Hafuta organizes renovations, whether structural, electrical or more expansive, and ensures that the homes can be functional for a healthy life. Hafuta and her volunteers recently renovated a decrepit apartment for a Holocaust survivor. “He had the biggest smile across his face after his apartment was fixed,” she recalls. A widower and father of four told Hafuta that she saved his life when Meir Panim remodeled an old two-bedroom apartment into a space for a family, with three rooms and a new bathroom and kitchen.

Meir Panim brings a smile onto people’s faces – that is precisely our goal,” says Hafuta, who has built an operation that nourishes impoverished Israelis with food, shelter, fun and a big dose of Jewish tradition. “When someone finds the good in his or her heart to volunteer, they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of those in need. We have seen miracles.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Meir Panim: Lighting Up Life for Israel’s Neediest Residents”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Part of the Gush Etzion fence near Jerusalem
Cabinet to Vote Sunday on Cutting Gush Etzion Off from Jerusalem
Latest Home Stories
Planting Trees on the Golan

In the areas where over 1,000 rockets and missiles fell, Israeli farmers will plant 100,000 new fruit trees!

Apartment 758x530

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.

Visiting IDF bases and receiving briefings from IDF officers.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Israel off the beaten track, feel the conflict first hand, understand the security issues and politic realities, and have an unforgettable trip!

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event.

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event

As Shmitta approaches, JewishPress.com interviews the founder of an organization that has planted more fruit trees in Israel than any other.

The Ritz-Carlton has taken the concept of private vacation residences in Israel to a new level.

It has been 9 years since Israel’s Disengagement. JobKatif continues to bring relief to the unemployed and underemployed families From Gush Katif through vocational training, employment placement, counseling and coaching.

In its 4th year, The Event will addressing the question and needs of the English-speaking community in Israel.

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.

JewishPress.com has some amazing prizes we’re raffling away at The Event!

With 20,000 children living in Eretz Yisroel’s periphery, where regular school bus service is non-existent and private transportation impossible due to economic short-comings within almost all of the children’s families, Chinuch Atzmai has been providing regular school bus and mini-bus services to 269 communities across the country.

The generosity of Mrs. Lee Steinberg of New York helped establish the Meir Panim Free Restaurant in Tiberias.

Naale Elite Academy is a unique, exclusive, top quality Israeli high school program for Diaspora Jews. Students receive a full scholarship with all expenses paid until they graduate.

“When we landed in Beijing, a Chinese army captain and soldier, weapons drawn, boarded the plane and swiftly collected all passports. Since we had no entry visas to China, we were summarily hauled off the plane and marched to the terminal…”

If bitcoins aren’t issued by any sort of government agency, or printed in any mint, where do they come from, and how do you get them?

More than Just a Building Standard

More Articles from Daniela Berkowitz
JobKatif

It has been 9 years since Israel’s Disengagement. JobKatif continues to bring relief to the unemployed and underemployed families From Gush Katif through vocational training, employment placement, counseling and coaching.

Children playing at the Meir Panim summer camp.

Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/home/promotional-content/meir-panim-lighting-up-life-for-israels-neediest-residents/2014/03/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: