Jewish housewives always wonder why Purim comes before Pesach. Why do their houses need to be filled with junk food right before they have to clean for Pesach? For thousands of mothers around Israel, such ‘problems’ would be a blessing.
One in five Israeli children goes hungry. Their parents struggle to provide the basic necessities. While all other kids are planning their costumes and excitedly delivering mishloach manot, these poor children watch from the sidelines, wishing that they too could take part in the excitement. They are waiting for someone to put the happiness into Purim.
Meir Panim is putting a smile on the faces of Israel’s poor children. All around Israel, Meir Panim is giving needy kids mishloach manot, serving hamenstashen and providing costumes.
At the organization’s branch in Or Akiva, children receive free costumes and needy families are hosted for a festive Purim feast. “I initiated this project in 2004 after discovering one of the children who attended the Meir Panim after-school club crying his eyes out one day,” explains Ilanit Hafuta, Director of the Meir Panim branch in Ohr Akiva (situated 55km north of Tel Aviv). “I asked him why he was so upset and he looked up at me with these large, tearful eyes and said that he was embarrassed to attend his school Purim party because he had no costume to wear and his family had no money to buy him one.”
Hafuta decided, then and there, that every single child in the community would have something to wear that Purim. Now, nine years later, over 100 children in Ohr Akiva alone proudly boast their chosen Purim outfit. “The idea that any child should be embarrassed to go to school because they don’t have what to dress up in, is heartbreaking. Now, not only does each child have a costume, but we do our very best to provide them with their dream costume.”
More than just fancy dress, Meir Panim strives to create a festive Purim atmosphere in each of its seven branches. From Kiryat Malachi in the south to Tiberius in the north, hundreds of Israel’s most disadvantaged children, families and elderly people are given the opportunity to listen to the megilah together, eat together and celebrate together, worry free.
“Visit any community in Israel on Purim and you’ll see crowded streets packed with people happily running from house to house visiting friends and family, showing off their costumes and delivering food gifts,” continues Hafuta. “For those who can’t afford to provide even the simplest of necessities for their families, holidays can be an especially painful time. Meir Panim enables these people to ‘feel like everyone else’ and join in the national celebrations in a dignified and warm atmosphere.” Meir Panim is giving the most wanted Purim gifts.
This Purim, give more than candy. Your neighbors will thank you for not sending another plate of unwanted junk. Instead, help Meir Panim give food to those who need it most. Click here to donate today and spread the happiness of Purim to those who need it most.