JNF UK kicked off its annual Tu’Bishvat fundraising drive on 21 January as dozens of dedicated volunteers met in London to make phone calls to JNF UK donors. This year the charity was particularly pleased to count among its volunteers children as young as 11 and 12 years old, as well as volunteers from across the community. They gathered to make calls all day, educating thousands of people about the charity’s work to feed the hungry in Israel and asking for their support.
In Israel a group of volunteers from a JNF UK-supported leadership programme, also made calls for the first time as part of Green Sunday.
This year’s Green Sunday appeal is raising money to combat hunger in some of the Negev’s poorest communities. JNF UK has selected key organisations working to improve the lives of thousands of Israelis by providing them with healthy, nourishing food. These include soup kitchens in Be’er Sheva and Eilat which provide hundreds of children with school lunches, as well as serving hot meals each week in community restaurants. SAHI, an organisation that makes and distributes weekly food parcels to hundreds of families in Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat, draws on the help of teenage volunteers, giving them a sense of community and responsibility for others.
For over thirty years Green Sunday has provided the community with the opportunity to come together and raise money for essential projects in Israel. As Britain’s oldest Israel charity, JNF UK is dedicated to building Israel and securing its future. Current focus is to support people living on Israel’s peripheries, particularly in the south where the need is greater. From improving education and welfare to boosting employment and healthcare, JNF UK works on projects aimed at improving all areas of life for Israelis of all ages.
Yonatan Galon, CEO of JNF UK, said “Israel is rightly well known for its successes but the disparity between the rich and the poor is widening. Around 10% of Israelis including 300,000 children suffer a severe lack of food. Thanks to the generous support of our British donors, we are determined to help as many people as possible out of hunger. From holocaust survivors in Be’er Sheva to single parents in Kiryat Malachi, the organisations we are supporting make a real difference every day.”
Nigel Saidler, who volunteered on Green Sunday, said “the atmosphere was buzzing and it’s amazing to have been part of such an exciting fundraising drive. As well as raising money to feed those in need in Israel, we all felt the strength of our own community, too. People were so generous with their donations.”
Leighann and Isaac Barashi who are 11 and 12 years old, said: “We volunteered because we wanted to help those who don’t have any money to buy food for their kids, We feel very sorry for those families that are sending their kids to school with no food.”
The fundraising drive continues over the next few weeks. Lines are open for donations on 0208 732 6100 or online at jnf.co.uk/donate.