Sima and Michael Oberlander and one of their daughters and her friend volunteered picking food for Leket Israel in a field in Rishon LeTzion. Leket is the leading food rescue organization in Israel, provides food to 200 organizations that feed 175,000 needy Israelis on a weekly basis. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all of us. It has hit the neediest the hardest. In Israel, unemployment is close to 25%. Leket collects left over food from hotel buffets, corporate dining rooms, and weddings and other simchas. When hotels are closed and there are no tourists, there are no breakfast buffets. When people work from home and when the workforce is reduced, there is less food from company lunchrooms. When weddings and bar mitzvahs are limited in size …. you get the picture. Leket also has fields and sends volunteers to pick the left over crops from other fields across the country. But, when teen groups and other tourists do not visit Israel in the summer, there are no volunteers to do that labor. So Leket sent out the call for volunteers and the Oberlanders – together with 50+ others – answered the call. They picked literally tons of squash this morning in a couple of hours. (Interestingly, the “adult” volunteers come to pick food and so they accomplished in two hours what the teen/college groups would do in four hours.)
The Oberlander family is proud to support the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis for many, many reasons. One of those reasons is Federation’s long-term investment in the work of Leket Israel and other nonprofits in Israel working to better the lives of the neediest people in Israel, especially in St. Louis’ sister city of Yokneam and sister region of Megiddo. Next time you visit Israel, contact the Oberlanders and they will go with you to volunteer at Leket.