In anticipation of their big day, Ronit and Binny are not only focusing on their invitations, caterer, band etc., they are also thinking about how they can make their special day even more meaningful. In planning their wedding, they are working to arrange the donation of all the surplus food from their celebration to those less fortunate in Israel.
“In my mind I think to myself—there is so much food made for weddings and so much left over. Why shouldn’t other people be able to eat and benefit from our simcha (celebration), especially if they themselves can’t afford a plate of food. Leket, you are absolutely incredible in what you do—thank you for making our deeply special day even more meaningful,” Ronit shared.
Originally from Riverdale, New York, Ronit made aliyah in 2012, with her family following several years later. Binny was already in Ma’ale Adumim after making aliyah with his family from New Hempstead, New York, in 2007.
Binny added, “As the first act of chessed (charity) that we perform together as a married couple, Ronit and I would love nothing more than to donate our excess food to Leket Israel for distribution to our Israeli brothers and sisters in need.”
Ronit and Binny are just one of the many couples who participate in Leket Israel’s meal rescue program on their wedding day.
As part of this initiative, Leket has many loyal caterers and wedding halls that partner in providing surplus food to Israel’s most needy. One of these caterers is Naftali Kalfa from Endive Catering. Throughout Israel’s long wedding season, Naftali and his catering company donate hundreds, if not thousands, of fresh, quality meals.
Kalfa commented, “For us, working with Leket Israel is not only important, but is also a great privilege.”
Leket Israel is tremendously grateful to partners like Naftali, and looks forward to growing this initiative to include more catering companies.
Alon Nagar, event manager at Olmaya, a popular Jerusalem wedding venue where Ronit and Binny will be getting married this summer, said, “Just last week, when working with the Leket staff to rescue hundreds of surplus meals from an event, the Leket staff was so quiet and efficient that we hardly even noticed that they were there. They came in, collected all the excess food in a safe, clean and effective way, and worked with the utmost respect and care. Who could ask for more?” adding, “I am absolutely honored and humbled to work with such an organization that saves nutritious food from destruction and waste.”
According to Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Ziv Haft Israel, who produced Leket Israel’s Second Annual Food Waste and Rescue Report, “From the beginning of Israel’s wedding season, starting on Lag B’Omer on May 14, 3.5 million hot meals will go to waste from events, the value of which is about ₪125 million ($35 million). In Israel there are about 50,000 weddings annually and approximately 33,000 are held during the wedding season from May through October.”
Chen concluded, “Overall, 44,000 tons of food are thrown away each year in the wedding industry as a whole, including 13 million rescuable meals, worth ₪490 million ($136 million). Out of this, five million rescuable meals worth ₪185 million ($51 million), are destroyed.”
Joseph Gitler, Leket Israel’s Founder and Chairman, shared, “It is heartwarming that during the most important occasion of their lives, people have in mind those less fortunate.”
Gitler continued, “Whether you are living in Israel or coming from abroad to mark a special milestone, contributing to Leket’s meal rescue program is a hands-on way of helping to feed Israel’s needy while alleviating poverty and increasing nutritional security throughout the country.”