The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, is donating NIS 12 million (approx. $3 million) to maintain urgent needs funds in over 150 Israeli municipalities.
These funds enable welfare departments to supply thousands of needy families with basic products and services.
Welfare workers encounter numerous requests from impoverished citizens who are in dire need of clothing, food, medication, transportation to and from medical treatments, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and other essentials.
There is not enough government funding of aid to the poor to meet these urgent needs. To fill the void, the IFCJ has doubled the sum provided by the government, offering immediate assistance to Israel’s poorest citizens.
This is the seventh year for this project. With over $9 million (approx NIS 36 million) donated already, hundreds of thousands of citizens around Israel have received emergency assistance. This year, due to the economic crisis that plunged thousands more people into poverty, and the worsening economic crisis in municipalities, it has been decided to extend this project significantly.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president and founder, said: "When I saw a social worker use her own money to buy shoes for the child of a needy family that could not afford them, I decided to put an emphasis on grants for basic needs.
"These funds give immediate relief to Israel's most vulnerable citizens and provide for a range of needs – from a bus pass for a child who needs to get to school, to a hearing aid for a poor, elderly man, to kidney dialysis treatments for sick people who can't afford them, to a host of other needs."
Netivot Mayor Yechiel Zohar said, "This important project is a lifeline for us that enables us to assist distressed and needy communities as well as helpless children."
Kiryat Gat Mayor Aviram Dahari said, "With the IFCJ’s donation we have managed to salvage families in crisis that otherwise wouldn't have had anyone to turn to.”
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), based in Chicago and Jerusalem, is the largest funder of social services in Israel after the government. Through the generosity of its donors, most of whom are evangelical Christians, IFCJ has in recent years contributed over NIS 1 billion toward Jewish immigration, resettlement, social welfare, and security projects in Israel, as well as supporting numerous projects that help impoverished Jewish populations in the former Soviet Union and around the world.