In a ceremony attended by Barzilai Medical Center CEO Professor Hezi Levy, Construction and Housing Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton, the mayors of Metulla, Kiryat Shmona and Ashkelon and others, the Emergency Volunteers Project last week launched the first phase of a project that aims to feed civilian populations in Israel during war and natural disasters.

The first stage of the project consists of a fully equipped, mobile kitchen capable of providing up to 1,000 hot meals daily.

EVP volunteers will run the kosher kitchen and take it wherever the need is greatest. The ultimate goal is to set up a fleet of mobile kitchens, as well as regional logistical and support centers across Israel. When not needed for its primary mission, the project aims to provide hot meals to the needy, as well as hot, tasty treats for soldiers.

Last Tuesday, the kitchen supplied more than 250 hot meals to Barzilai Medical Center staff before being transferred to an army base in the south the next day, where it provided more than 400 “fast food” meals for soldiers.

EVP was founded 10 years ago to recruit and train first responders from abroad to reinforce Israeli first responders in times of crisis. To date the organization has trained 2,000-plus first responders and deployed teams of firefighters and medical staff to Israel six times, including during “Operation Pillar of Defense” in 2012, “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014 and the forest fires that swept across Israel in 2016.

In addition to emergency deployments, EVP volunteers also come to Israel for advanced training and work in emergency stations with their Israeli colleagues.

Eitan Charnoff, director of emergency deployment and EVP spokesperson, said “this new project is just one example of EVP’s expansion program. The idea was born over three years ago, with EVP dedicating itself not only to saving lives in Israel during war and disaster, but also to improving quality of life during peacetime.”

According to Adi Zahavi, founder and CEO of EVP, “EVP will always be here for the people of Israel. This new program is just the start.”

Philip Barnea is Volunteer Liaison and Communications Director for the Emergency Volunteers Project.