Jon and Anna Crane, a Christian couple from Scott City, Kansas, love the Holy Land and its citizens. Following three visits with tour groups to Israel over the years, including one with Robert Stearns of Eagle’s Wings, they decided to spend three months in Israel in order to better experience daily life in the country.
“Part of our tour with Eagle’s Wings was a visit to Meir Panim’s free restaurant-style soup kitchen in Jerusalem,” Anna said. “We enjoyed the experience so much four years ago that we needed to come back again. Volunteering at Meir Panim is one tangible way we can share our love for the people of Israel.”
The Meir Panim charity organization was established to help alleviate and diminish the harmful effects of poverty on thousands of men, women and children across Israel. They do this through a network of soup kitchens and social welfare programs throughout the holy land.
Jon, a retired school teacher and Anna, a retired office manager/bookkeeper and piano teacher, were impressed by the work and atmosphere in Meir Panim’s Jerusalem soup kitchen. “The food looked and smelled delicious and the patrons seemed to enjoy their meals,” told the couple.
“We are so grateful for the servants at Meir Panim who provide these meals on a regular basis to the hungry. We are especially impressed with the respect shown by this establishment to those eating there.”
The couple pointed out the unique way in which Meir Panim runs their soup kitchens. Rather than patrons waiting on line to get their trays of food and then sitting down, Meir Panim patrons walk in and sit down at a table already laden with drinks and vegetables. Then volunteers serve the food to them, as if they are in a restaurant.
“This concept allows people like us to interact with the patrons, so we can share our compassion with them,” smiled Anna. “We have great compassion for the people who come to Meir Panim. They are obviously hungry and they seem to appreciate the free meal. We enjoyed visiting with those who could speak English. We were able to non-verbally communicate our love with those who didn’t speak English.”
The Cranes took particular notice of regular volunteer, Ellen Tillis. “Ellen was especially good at knowing which people had special dietary needs, etc. She was very compassionate toward the patrons,” noted Anna. “All the people we worked with were very friendly and helpful in showing us what we needed to do and we hope to come back and volunteer at Meir Panim again. We always leave feeling very blessed to be a part of such a great establishment. It reminds me of the quote, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. This proves itself out at Meir Panim!”