The High Holiday season, specifically the holiday of Sukkot, is a time defined by joy and time together with family. But for the impoverished, elderly or widowed, it can be a period of added stress and challenge to put food on the table.

To that end, Colel Chabad—the longest continuously operating charitable organization in Israel, established in 1788—is delivering boxes filled with everything from rice and beans to chicken and wine to more than 15,000 homes. An additional 16,000 cooked holiday meals are being delivered over the next two days to 2,000 homebound elderly citizens, many of whom are Holocaust survivors.

The organization has also set up a public sukkah, as well as sukkahs at its 18 soup kitchens around the country, for those looking for a place to eat their holiday meals. Teams of volunteers are also assisting seniors and widows in building personal sukkahs at home.

To keep costs down so that available funds go directly to helping those in need, pantry staples—rice, peas, chickpeas, quinoa—are packaged, labeled and boxed by volunteers at the Jerusalem warehouse of Colel Chabad’s Pantry Packers.

As implementers of Israel’s National Food Security Project, Colel Chabad also helps families with support projects, including financial planning and help, educational tutoring and enrichment, and support groups and therapy.

“The holidays are meant to be a time of joy, meaning and meals around the table, and we want all of these individuals to know that they are never forgotten,” said the organization’s director, Rabbi Sholom Duchman. “We strive to give them the feeling of confidence that with the start of the Jewish New Year, their futures can and will be brighter. And with the inclusion of the Food Security Program into the national budget, we can work to help even more families this coming year.”

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