On the festival of Shavuot, we read in the Book of Ruth how poor people were invited by farmers to glean in the fields, to pick up food that was left behind by the harvesters. Project Leket has taken gleaning to the next level, so you can join their team of food rescue volunteers on your next trip to Israel.
Volunteers are invited to join Project Leket to help harvest fruits and vegetables for distribution to Israel’s needy. They have two locations where seasonal produce can be picked and packed for delivery to needy families. One is on Moshav Nahalal in Emek Yizrael in the Southern Galil area, and the other is the Kvutzat Shiller fields and the Tzuran orchard near Rishon LeTzion in central Israel. In both locations, it is important to check in advance what fruits and vegetables are ready for picking, and to dress appropriately. There is also an indoor option at Leket’s Ra’anana Logistics Center , where anyone over the age of eight can help with the sorting and packing of the fresh produce that has been trucked in from the fields.
Families with kids of all ages enjoy volunteering in the Leket fields because it is fun to see how food is grown and to get your hands dirty in the process of picking and gathering it. Older kids can help to carry the basket s and boxes, while younger children scavenge for fruits and vegetables that have been left behind. It’s always a fun experience, with a strong feel-good factor.
Volunteering sessions usually last 2 hours. The dress code at Leket requires everyone to wear closed-toed shoes and clothing that is suitable for outdoor work. You should also bring a hat and at least 2 liters of water per person, as it can be hot and thirsty work!
Leket is Israel’s primary food rescue organization. Food rescue is the distribution of quality, edible food that would otherwise have been discarded, for delivery to populations suffering from nutritional insecurity. All the food gleaned, sorted and packed by Leket volunteers is distributed through over 200 non-profit organizations throughout Israel, who deliver it directly to Israelis who are experiencing food insecurity, regardless of age, background and religion.
Leket also runs a Meal Rescue program that you can invite to collect leftover food at the end of your event in Israel. If you are hosting a catered Bar or Bat Mitzvah or other celebration in Israel, talk to Leket about collecting uneaten food at the end of the evening and distributing it to poor families. You do need to arrange this in advance to give them time to send one of their drivers to collect the food and take it to their nearest refrigerated storage facility. From here it is delivered to NPOs and soup kitchens all over Israel. Every month, volunteers rescue tens of thousands of meals from banquet halls, food courts in malls, and restaurants.
If you are interested in volunteering with Leket’s gleaning program on your next trip to Israel, or donating left-over food from your event, please contact the Shatour team and we will make the necessary arrangements.