Recognizing the need, and reasoning that “the best the way to run a food bank is to start your own,” that’s what Joseph Gitler did.
Despite the Jewish state’s remarkable transformation since its establishment seven decades ago from a fledgling state to an economic and military powerhouse, a substantial number of Israelis are living below the poverty line.
That’s what makes the work of Leket Israel – which serves to rescue and distribute nutritious food to those in need – so important, says Joseph Gitler, who founded the charity after witnessing significant food wastage at a time of rising poverty. Leket Israel is now the country’s largest food bank, and Gitler continues to serve as its chairman.
Israel today has more than 800,000 children – 10 percent of the population – living below the poverty line, notes Gitler, who studied at Yeshiva University and Fordham University Law School in New York City before making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) in 2000. He spent three years working in software business.
Settling down in Raanana, “I got very concerned about what I was hearing. People were knocking on my door, asking for charity. In religious communities, it’s very common. I was so disturbed that someone could work full time and still need poverty assistance.”
The problem, he came to understand, was in some ways related to the Second Intifada. Tourism and ancillary industries suffered, and people were laid off or had reduced incomes.
Apart from the interrelated political and security problem, “the biggest issue in this country is the cost of living vis-a-vis salaries,” he says.
Recognizing the need, and reasoning that “the best the way to run a food bank is to start your own,” that’s what Gitler did.
SOURCE: United with IsraelTags: Israel, Leket, Partners, United with Israel