A healthful meal (Shutterstock) Shutterstock
A healthful meal (Shutterstock)

“This initiative has resulted in real change that is clearly motivated by a sense of empathy for the needy,” said the mayor of a northern Israeli town.

By United With Israel Staff

Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem recently held a day-long seminar about the importance of helping disadvantaged citizens embrace a healthier lifestyle.

The gathering attracted over 200 women seeking information on Israel’s National Food Security Initiative.

This initiative, established in 2016 by Israel’s Welfare Ministry and implemented by Colel Chabad charity organization and Leket Israel, a program that collects fresh produce from farms that would otherwise be thrown out, provides healthier food to the needy along with education to help individuals and families achieve better and more budget-friendly lifestyles.

At the seminar, senior medical professionals and social workers discussed how healthier choices help people out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Dr. Keren Hershkop, director of Nutritional Services at Shaare Zedek, stressed the importance of educating people about nutrition, especially those who struggle to make ends meet.

As reported by Israel National News, Hershkop said that poor people tend to to prefer packaged and prepared foods over fresh, more nutritious ingredients. Although perhaps less expensive, the long-term negative effects of a poor diet can become extremely costly when it comes to health.

Hershkop also advised, “It’s critical that in all aspects of our lifestyles we act as models for our children, and this should certainly start with food preparation. Involve your kids in planning and making meals as much as possible and show them the value of physical activity and using sports as a bonding experience.”

Ravit Zamir, director of Social Work at Shaare Zedek and a former staff member of the National Food Security Initiative, emphasized that hospitals do more than treating ill people.

“We are proud of our role as educators of the community we serve, and we are proud to host events that demonstrate how to lead healthier and more satisfied lives,” Zamir said, Israel National News reported.With health comes confidence and ambition, which we know gets people motivated to escape cycles of poverty.”

There are presently about 50 Israeli municipalities participating in the Food Security Initiative.

Each Individual Can Make a Meaningful Change

Rabbi Mendy Blau, Israel director for Colel Chabad, stated, “Programs like today’s seminar stress the understanding that each and every woman in this room has the ability to make changes in their lives that will positively affect them and their families for many years to come.”

Eli Barda, mayor of Israel’s northern city of Migdal HaEmek, is quoted by the 5 Towns Jewish Times as saying, “This initiative has resulted in real change that is clearly motivated by a sense of empathy for the needy. Over the two years that the program has been in effect, we have witnessed dramatic changes in the status of these families, and we have seen them acting with greater fiscal and personal responsibility.”

Israel’s National Food Security Initiative is revolutionizing the way disadvantaged people receive help. It not only ensures that a person will have food for their next meal, it inspires individuals and families to improve their eating habits, become more self-sufficient and break out of poverty.