With the help of tens of thousands of volunteers, dozens of staff, and an array of trucks and logistics resources, Leket Israel is on track by year end to rescue or grow and then distribute 16,600 tons (36.5 million lbs) of agricultural produce and prepared meals to 200+ nonprofit organization (NPO) partners serving those in greatest need from all backgrounds and ethnicities.
Project Leket, our flagship agricultural gleaning initiative, is expected to rescue 14,000 tons (31 million lbs) of fresh produce by year end, and we aim to raise this by 20% to 17,000 tons (37.4 million lbs) in 2019. In addition, Leket will also grow and harvest by year end approximately 1,300 tons (2.9 million lbs) of its own select field crops in an effort to help supplement rescued produce supplied to NPOs during the year. The NPOs rely on the produce to help diversify food offerings, supplement limited food budgets, and to provide healthy food alternatives for their clientele.
As part of its national hot meal rescue initiative, Leket Israel is also on track to rescue 2.1 million meals (equivalent to 1,260 tons (2.8 million lbs) of food) from 275+ restaurants, hotels, corporate cafeterias and IDF bases and aims to raise this by 12% to 2.5 million meals in 2019. The prepared food, the majority of which is rescued on dedicated collection routes, is redistributed to 70 NPO partners throughout Israel including soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, after school programs, and last chance high schools for marginalized youth. Sadly, for many, the food they receive from Leket is the only hot meal and source of protein during the day.
During the year we established in cooperation with local non profit organizations meal distribution hubs in Dimona in the south and are in the process of opening a new hub in Sfat and an additional hub in Jerusalem.
To help attain our 2019 goals and to facilitate additional growth in the coming years, Leket Israel has signed a long term lease on a new logistics center located less than a mile from its current center. The new warehouse, sitting on 6,200 square meters (66,700 sq ft) of land, is 3,140 sqauer meters (33,800 sq ft) in size (more than 3x’s our current space), and offers 10,200 cubic meters (360,000 cubic ft) of refrigeration (13x’s current capacity). Contributing to a higher level of efficiency, the new facility will house offices for both logistics and operations staff. The larger refrigeration space will also enable Leket Israel to accept all the excess food being offered while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in outsourced storage costs.
In addition to the significant change in logistics operations through the relocation, steps are being taken to ensure more efficient operations with respect to outsourced trucking. Following on from a 3-month pilot trial, Leket Israel is now outsourcing nearly all produce collection to the Taavura trucking company and is paying per ton transported, rather than per trucking day or truckload, meaning that money will be saved if the Taavura trucks are not operating at full capacity. Within the next 12 months, Taavura is expected to drop its price by at least 10%/ton. Leket’s trucks will focus solely on the distribution of produce to NPOs.
Over the last three years, Leket Israel (in cooperation with BDO Consulting Group) has published an annual food rescue and waste report, to gain public support of food rescue as the preferred manner of addressing nutritional insecurity in Israel. We have promoted the report in the Knesset and have worked tirelessly with Knesset members from across the political spectrum over the last several years to also promote passage of the “Good Samaritan” Food Donation law that encourages the donations of excess food by protecting donors. After 10 years of hard work on the issue, the bill was finally passed into law this week and joins only four other countries with such legislation. See: https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Knesset-passes-Food-Donation-Act-to-minimize-liability-in-food-donations-570009
There is far more to be achieved and through the generous assistance of donors like you, we will continue to work hard putting your dollars to work rescuing and distributing food to help needy Israelis. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated.
VP Resource Development