Anshai Torah will welcome Leket Israel, Israel’s National Food Bank and leading food rescue organization, Friday, Oct. 14, following Kabbalat Shabbat Services. Lauren Yokèd, executive director of American Friends of Leket Israel, will visit during Shabbat dinner in the CAT sukkah. The event is open to the community.
“We are excited to welcome Lauren here over Sukkot. It will be an evening not to be missed,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Michael Kushnick. He noted that Anshai Torah’s Chef Daniel Conroy is creating a Shabbat dinner menu that will include foods that could be considered as “scrap” — perhaps bruised fruits or the skins of potatoes — often seen as refuse but which are indeed healthy.
Leket Israel, celebrating 20 years of service in 2023, reports that last year they had 110 employees and more than 18,000 volunteers that helped provide 26,064 tons of healthy food to 263 nonprofit organizations, feeding 223,000 needy Israelis each week. Before 2022 ends, they will have provided 2.1 million kosher meat meals and more than 66 million pounds of surplus produce.
The agency deals with harvesting surplus agricultural produce, and collecting excess cooked meals, then sorting and distributing them — overseen with the highest food safety regulations — to the needy throughout the country. Leket Israel’s staff also includes professional dietitians who conduct nutrition workshops for targeted populations geared toward raising awareness of proper nutrition.
“We so appreciate our in-person volunteers who come from around the world and those who help us with financial support. In every donation of time and money the land of Israel is literally touched and a difference is made for so many,” said Yokèd.
There is a reported 40% food waste in Israel, and 25% of the population lives below the poverty line. Each week, Leket Israel provides millions of pounds of excess fresh produce and hot meals, the surplus food rescued from hundreds of farmers, hotels, the IDF and others.
“We’re thrilled to be expanding our presence in Dallas and the surrounding area. It is wonderful to see new communities getting excited about food rescue for Israelis in need,” said Joseph Gitler, Leket founder.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas is supporting Leket Israel with a first-time grant recently approved to partner with the nonprofit in food rescue.
“The Federation and our community are proud to be able to help Leket Israel move forward with their efforts to help so many hungry Israelis,” said Rabbi Mordechai Harris, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas interim chief operating officer and rabbi in residence. “To that end we have awarded a $5,000 grant for Leket Israel’s Nahariya Social Supermarket program, supporting this critical cause and reaching the vulnerable.”
“Leket Israel is doing very special work by providing fresh produce to Israelis in need. We are excited about Lauren’s visit to Plano and the Anshai Family’s visit to Leket Israel this winter, volunteering with the organization to pick produce ourselves, part of our upcoming Anshai Torah Israel Experience,” said Rabbi Kushnick. “I know Lauren’s visit and our learning more about Leket Israel will inspire us all.”
For more information, or to RSVP for CAT’s Oct. 14 Shabbat dinner in the sukkah, visit anshaitorah.org/event/sukkot-dinner.html.