More than a decade ago, students of Yeshivat Rambam and the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School led an initiative to raise money for Meir Panim, an Israeli agency that offers food and social service programs to alleviate the harmful effects of poverty and to assist needy Israelis to break out of the cycle of poverty.
The Baltimore-based event, America Eats for Israel, is now national and will take place in Baltimore, New Jersey and New York on May 15.
Seven Baltimore City and County restaurants — Caramel’s Ice Cream and Pizza, David Chu’s China Bistro, Dougie’s BBQ & Grill, Eden Café, Mama Leah’s Pizza, Tov Pizza and Van Gough Café — will all donate 10 percent of their May 15 proceeds to American Friends of Meir Panim, the U.S. fundraising arm of Meir Panim.
“It is exciting to go from restaurant to restaurant on the day of the event and see the people excited to share a meal with family and friends, knowing that doing an ordinary thing such as ordering a sandwich or omelet is going to provide funds to people with real needs in Israel,” said Rabbi Sam Wach, youth director of the Ner Tamid Youth and Scouts, in a news release.
In addition to running restaurant-style soup kitchens in Israel, Meir Panim is dedicated to fighting poverty in Israel by sponsoring after-school youth clubs for at-risk youth and providing meals for low-income students at school.
“We really feel like it’s important to fundraise for kids in particular to help the next generation of Israel,” said Danielle Rubin, the project director of American Friends of Meir Panim.
American students preparing for b’nai mitzvahs can set up a fund to have a portion of their gifts sent to Meir Panim.
“It’s a great chesed opportunity,” said Rubin. “A lot of kids like to collect money for a charitable cause.”