The Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics and Community Development, an organization dedicated to building Israeli society one community at a time by successfully bringing Diaspora models of community building to Israel, has created a unique volunteer food and essential items distribution system for elderly and other home-bound Israelis in conjunction with the Municipality of Modiin during the Coronavirus crisis.
Barkai rabbis and other members appointed neighborhood ‘captains’ who set up WhatsApp groups to mobilize volunteers and to be in direct contact with those in need in each of Modiin’s neighborhoods to ensure the necessary food distribution packages.
“Our community-building model has meant that we were ready to step in and create networks to ensure those in need receive the food and other necessities they so badly need during the Coronavirus crisis,” Founder and Dean of Barkai Rabbi David Fine said. “We see that this model can be replicated in cities and towns across Israel in a speedy and smooth manner, so the elderly and other home-bound Israelis receive what they so desperately require during this difficult time.”
The project involves more than 250 volunteers who deliver cooked meals to the elderly and other home-bound residents in each of Modiin’s 13 neighborhoods three times a week. Each package has enough hot and healthy meals including meat, carbohydrates and vegetables for two days.
In addition, the Barkai volunteers deliver food from the supermarkets to hundreds of elderly and home-bound residents in Modiin. When the volunteers deliver the packages, they ask the recipients how they are and if they have any further needs and update both the Modiin Municipality and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services in order to update their national database which tracks the condition of elderly and infirm citizens across the country.
“We deeply appreciate the networks and food distribution model created by the Barkai team and we recommend and encourage other municipalities to copy them,” said Deputy Mayor of Modiin Amiad Taub who holds the social services portfolio in the Municipality.