The meals are being prepared in the Mishor Adumim facility, with distribution points in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and the Leket facility in Raanana.
What is on the menu? No fewer than 11,000 salmon fillets, 7,000 chicken thighs and 9,800 almond cakes. The food preparation entails an order of some 30,000 eggs and 10 tons worth of potatoes.
In addition to the prepared meals, Colel Chabad will distribute 10,8000 boxes of holiday food staples and fresh fruits and vegetables to the doors of families in the National Food Security initiative, a program of the Ministry of Welfare implemented by the Colel Chabad network.
“Every effort is made to giving [these families] a sense of enjoyment for the holiday, so … they can achieve a feeling of personal respect, joy and freedom and leave the challenges of their daily lives behind while celebrating the chag,” said Rabbi Shalom Duchman, director of Colel Chabad.
Colel Chabad is the founder of Pantry Packers, one of the country’s largest food distribution facilities, which was founded in 2013. It operates like a manufacturing plant with workers standing in assembly line fashion, processing, bagging, sealing and labelling products and then boxing them for shipping. Pantry Packers alone has more than 18,000 annual volunteers who package upwards of 500,000 bags of food each year.
A December 2018 report by the National Insurance Institute found that 1,780,500 Israelis – including 466,400 families and 814,800 children, some 21.2% of the population – are living below the poverty line.
In addition to Colel Chabad, the Keren Meirim organization, which also works to fight the cycle of poverty and suffering that has been sweeping over Israel in recent years, will host a series of free Passover Seders for those who are in financial or social need.
Rabbi David Levy will host the Jerusalem seder at his home in Kiryat Menachem. He said he expects around 80 people of all ages and ethnicities and levels of religious observance. “Passover is a time when people prefer to be with their families,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “But these are people who don’t have families.”
He said that he believes in the time of the Temple that all the Jews will eat together and bring their own unique tribal customs to the Passover seder. Until then, he said, he enjoys having the variety of people around his own table.
When asks why he wants to open his home in such a way, he told the Post, “Unity and freedom should be for all the Jewish people,” said Levy.