Man With a Van

We have written many times about Gideon Ben Ami, our friend in Tel Aviv who derives great pleasure from feeding people who are hungry and with so few resources that a nutritious meal is beyond their means.

Gideon’s latest venture involves the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in Israel and how, with Gideon’s hard work and the generosity of Leket, Israel’s premier food rescue organization, we are now getting this nutritious bounty to people who rarely enjoy tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes, corn, beets, peppers and more.

A true entrepreneur long before the term became fashionable; Gideon always finds creative, economical and meaningful ways to improve others’ lives. This is what seems to fuel his very soul. From feeding breakfast to African refugees in Levinsky Park some years ago, to daily pick-ups from Tel Aviv’s restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets, Gideon seems to be guided by the mitzvah of lechem l’r’eyvim, feeding hungry people.

Between Sunday and Monday this week Gideon picked up and distributed nearly 100 cases of fresh produce along with some “bonuses” like hot pretzels and hamburger rolls. Who benefits? Several homeless shelters, victims of domestic violence, daycare centers for refugee children, and individual families he helps whenever he can.  Do not doubt that he is always thinking of new ideas; know that some of the tomato bounty currently growing throughout the country has been turned over to Gideon’s “soup-making” team who are now cooking huge batches of tomato sauce with lots of fresh basil. The sauce is delivered to several of the aforementioned daycare centers where it tops the pasta lunch originally served with bottled catsup!

The cost to the Good People Fund for this beautiful program? About 300 shekels ($88) for the rental of the trailer that hooks onto his van and the gasoline and insurance to run the van. Gideon estimates that before a year passes we could easily rescue and feed tons of fresh produce to hungry people.

Worth every shekel, for sure.