Leket’s new Binyamina field grows produce only for the needy. Photo: courtesy ISRAEL21c

Leket’s new Binyamina field grows produce only for the needy. Photo: courtesy ISRAEL21c

Singaporean philanthropy enables Israeli food-rescue organization to buy a field for raising staple crops to give to the needy all year around.

By Abigail Klein Leichman

Shalom Israel Asia Pacific (SIAP), a Christian pro-Israel organization based in Singapore, recently gave a donation to food-rescue organization Leket Israel to purchase a field where vegetables will be grown solely for the needy.

The 10-acre field in Binyamina, near Haifa, is one of the only fields in Israel where produce is grown specifically for charitable purposes. It’s the only one that will include a greenhouse to grow staple vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for distribution all year long.

“What makes the Binyamina initiative so unique is our ability to grow the most sought-after vegetables among Israeli society and to supply them to our 195 nonprofit partner agencies throughout the country. We are truly grateful for the substantial donation that made this dream become a reality,” said Joseph Gitler, Leket Israel’s founder and chairman.

“Thanks to Leket, there are thousands who go to bed at night with a full stomach, and that is why we were motivated to create an entire farm to grow produce exclusively for the poor,” said Pastor George Annadorai, director of SIAP.

Leket rescues and distributes 15,000 tons of fruit and vegetables to the needy each year. The vast majority of this bounty is donated by more than 500 farms across Israel.

Gitler said the purpose of growing additional crops in Binyamina is to enrich the variety of produce Leket supplies, as well as to guarantee that even when donations might decrease, as before the fall holiday season, Leket will not have to cut back distribution. Crops such as sweet potatoes, corn, onions and beets will be raised in Binyamina.

In order to engage the public while also reducing expenditures, Leket recruits volunteers from Israel and abroad to assist in the planting and harvesting. For this newest field, members from agricultural youth movements in the Binyamina area are assisting on the farm as part of their regular activities.

As a national food bank, Leket Israel also rescues surplus non-perishable food from manufacturers in addition to fresh perishable food left over on farms, hotels, military bases and catering halls throughout Israel.

The rescued food is distributed by partner organizations to approximately 175,000 Israelis living below the poverty line. Leket Israel also offers nutritional education workshops and consultations through its partners.