As the social and economic costs of the coronavirus crisis continue to rise, Israel’s Interior Ministry has approved a massive project designed to help families most in need.

The implementation of the project, involving a large-scale logistical effort, will be managed in large part by Colel Chabad, the longest continuously operating charitable organization in Israel.

The organization will be responsible for the logistical and distribution effort in Israel’s southern and central regions, Judea and Samaria, and Jerusalem, while the remainder of the country will be managed by the social-service agency Pitchon Lev.

A total of 200,000 needy families will be assisted through the effort.

Israel’s Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri said “this period has presented an ongoing financial nightmare that has made daily life a literal fight for survival for so many. The reality is that many families are suffering from hunger and need immediate support. This represents the culmination of an extensive effort where these beneficiaries will now receive dedicated debit cards that enable them to go out and buy critical food supplies in a respectable way that protects their dignity.”

Colel Chabad has earned public recognition for its implementation of the National Food Security Initiative, which distributes “debit cards” to purchase food, food boxes and other support for those living under the poverty line.

This latest project will see more than NIS 700 million (nearly $215 million) worth of support cards distributed in the coming months.

“The generations of experience Colel Chabad has in all types of food distribution—whether it is in the more modern form of cards or the traditional form of boxes, meals or from our soup kitchens—will allow even more people from all backgrounds to get the support they need at the time they need it the most,” said Rabbi Sholom Duchman, director of Colel Chabad. “As I was taught by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, we must help every person, no matter the background, in the way they need it most.”

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