Photo Credit: Courtesy: Colel Chabad
Colel Chabad building

The Government of Israel’s Social Welfare Department has drafted Colel Chabad to handle an emergency effort to provide Passover nutritional support to 30,000 families whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the coronavirus crisis. Colel Chabad, established in 1788, is Israel’s oldest and largest social services network, and is an official government contractor to provide food security for Israel’s poorest citizens.

This is a massive logistical undertaking that requires working closely with large and small municipalities in order to identity the most pressing cases. “The time frame in which all this must be accomplished is brutal,”  Colel Chabad’s Rabbi Shmuel Lipsker told JewishPress.com. “Pesach is two weeks off, and we have to provide 30,000 families with the purchasing power they need to shop for the Seder.”

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“We are not talking here about the chronic poor. Rather, these are working class families that normally manage from paycheck to paycheck but could never put aside any funds for a rainy day. Now is the rainy day, and thousands of proud, hardworking people are suddenly unemployed as factories and other employers are forced to shut their doors.”

This emergency $3 million program is being funded 90% by the Israeli Government and 10% by Colel Chabad. The program will provide the 30,000 households with magnetic Colel Chabad shopping cards. Each card is pre-loaded with 300 shekels of purchase power at over 600 supermarkets and food vendors throughout Israel.

“Colel Chabad never says ‘no’ to Israelis in need regardless of ethnicity, gender or degree of religious observance”, say Rabbi Lipsker.”The only criteria for eligibility is genuine need. This emergency program is especially challenging as it is our responsibility to invest the enormous human resources needed to identify and screen the recipients, as well as to come up with our ten percent share – $300,000 – which was never planned for and is not in our 2020 budget. We’re hoping our supporters and caring people will step up to the plate and enable us to keep this promise.”

Anyone wishing to contribute to this effort is invited to contact Brocho at Colel Chabad: 718-774-5446, 800-531-8001, sl@colelchabad.org, www.colelchabad.org/covid-19

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