The director of the Lev Tov [Good heart] Israel is serious: in Israel the process of povertization is much more rapid than elsewhere. The first sign is food. Among the most affected families, the refrigerators are literally empty, which explains the necessity for a food bank, which is supported by the FSJU.
In France, who is not familiar with the extraordinary network of solidarity created in 2001 by the Lev Tov Association managed by Mendy Attal?
Providing clothing, financial aid, food packages, equipment for handicapped infants, toys, happy events, the association also operates in Israel, focusing on the urgent and immediate needs of the vulnerable populations in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas through distribution of Shabbat meals and food packages for the holidays, delivery of daily meals, full school bags for the new school year, distribution of gifts for the holidays of Hanukkah and Purim.
Managed by Nathalie Boukris, these activities have only been made possible by a network of devoted volunteers, who are mobilized as needed.
“Without them, nothing would be possible,” explains Nathalie Boukris, who has lived in Israel for 8 years. “Numerous volunteers that worked for Lev Tov in France have made aliya [immigrated]. It is only natural that they offer to help us regardless of the city in which they have made home.”
Based on the two food banks created in France, Lev Tov decided to copy the model in Jerusalem in the Talpiot neighbourhood where the association has an office. The FSJU immediately noticed this project.
“Since 2015, Israel has experienced a strong aliya from France. Problems with integration have become evident. Numerous families are become vulnerable due to a loss of certainty, professional difficulties and their children’s struggles at school. Certain families require a more concrete support than Lev Tov can provide.
“The food bank aims to meet this type of need in Jerusalem where a large number of francophones live. That’s the reason we decided to provide to assist in this project, which is a perfect fit for our desire to be active in certain programs with a measurable impact where solidarity and activism come together,” explains Myriam Fedida, the director of FSJU Israel.
Some 100 families are supported by Lev Tov through occasional or regular food aid.
“In Israel, the needs are much greater than in France because there is almost no government aid. A family facing difficulty due to the loss of employment or illness to one of the parents can quickly face an empty refrigerator. We have seen it with our own eyes. It is hard to take it in that a family with many children must make do with one chicken for a holiday…”
The association is also involved with youth. “Aliya creates many problems of which the youth are the direct victims. The parents lose some of their authority, creating a situation in which the children can feel on their own and socially isolated. This phenomenon become more acute during school holidays. That is the reason why we organized this year a summer camp subsidized by FSJU Israel and named “colobus”, which allowed around 80 children of francophone origin to go on field trips. The purpose was to lighten the load on the families and offer the youth a framework and a fun atmosphere. Seeing its success, we hope to develop this domain of activity and organize activities all year long,” explains Nathalie Boukris.
Through coaching, information meetings, prevention and sport, Lev Tov aims to provide a framework for drifting youth, also getting them involved in all the charitable activities conducted at the same time.
“The volunteers, given responsibility, can find a place and purpose in life, stand on their own two feet and forget themselves when giving to another person. We are convinced that it can serve as a way out for troubled youth,” explains Myriam Fedida. “To be helped by helping others and think the other person is me gives a meaning to life. What a wonderful new year’s resolution for this year.”