Karmiel, a busy thriving small city of 50,000 souls was our destination. We arrived with two trucks full of food, paper goods, and kitchen gifts for 50 families. Families were waiting for our arrival, having been told to come and receive food and gifts from Bridges for Peace. I immediately walked over to greet a couple of Ethiopian moms who were there with young babies. We spoke in Hebrew, our only common language. As the families continued to gather, I could see a mixture of backgrounds including Russian-speaking immigrants, Ethiopian Jews, Israelis, and Arabs. All were there because they desperately needed help. I saw a mixture of shame, hope, and resignation in their faces. This particular distribution was in addition to our regular food distribution, as a tour group led by author Joel Rosenberg contributed US $100 each to bless a needy family. What a blessing to be able to help and to do so in the name of the Lord!
As I looked around the room, I wondered, “How many of these dear people are so desperate they have contemplated suicide?” It is a real question! Just released, the Alternative Poverty Report, published by the Latet organization, shows an ongoing decline in poor individuals’ ability to provide for their needs in terms of education, health, nutrition, and housing. Some 35% cannot pay for medicines, 20% are chronically ill, and some 23% of the poor in Israel contemplated ending their life due to their dire financial situation. According to the National Insurance Institute, in 2006, the number of poor individuals in Israel stood at 1,650,000, nearly half of them children.
As we blessed the people, I thought of the beautiful Christians who gave to show God’s love, and I was reminded of the Scripture which says: “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; you will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.” (Psalm 41:1–2).
Karmiel Outreach Opening
We are busy preparing our new Distribution Center to open in February. It is large enough to hold 300 tons of food and has a large office area, which will be used as well for storage of non-food items, a meeting room to accommodate groups, and a conference room. Our IT team is developing a computer inventory program to be able to track the food and ensure the rotation of food items, so that nothing goes to waste due to expiration dates.
Christians around the world have given generously to renovate and equip the new center. A new 10-ton MAN truck has been ordered, as well as a large riding Toyota forklift and a second walking forklift. Now we need to fill the warehouse with food―300 tons of food at a cost of about US $750,000.
Already the city of Karmiel is becoming better acquainted with Bridges for Peace through these special distributions. A local Hebrew language newspaper printed a very positive article about us headlined, “A Group of Angels Came to WIZO” (Women’s International Zionist Organization). The reporter had tears running down his face, as I told him of our work and about the many Christians who love Israel and had given to bless families in Karmiel. We praise God for this positive coverage, as we establish ourselves in this new community.
School Costs Prohibitive for Poor Families
The poverty report also found that 78% of the poor in Israel cannot afford to buy school supplies for their children, a 47% increase in comparison to last year. Additionally, 89% of the poor are unable to pay for their children’s extracurricular activities, including private tutoring. Only 6% said that they could afford to fund their children’s academic studies. Unlike America and other countries, school books have to be purchased.
The Bridges for Peace Feed a Child Program is designed to meet these needs. Currently 130 children have been sponsored by Christians. Their monthly gifts of US $50 (a one-year commitment) allows us to provide a hot meal at lunch, school supplies, books, backpacks, extracurricular activities including summer camp, outings, after school tutoring, dental insurance, and gifts on special occasions.
Can You Help?
We need the help of all Christians who love Israel and want to partner with the Lord to assist the Jewish people and to show them God’s love. There are so many needs. Please pray about how God wants you to help. Remember, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17). Please make your choice on the coupon and give a generous gift to bless the people of Israel.
It is not God’s plan for His people to come back to the Land and then lose all hope. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” (Jeremiah 29:11–14). God is bringing His people back for an appointment with Him. His plans for them to have a future and a hope. You can be part of fulfilling this plan as you give from your heart to bring God’s love and hope into the lives of many who are without hope.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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