Pantry Packers – It feels good to give back

This morning was my second visit to Pantry Packers in the past week, and each time I visit I walk away with the same thought… While at first it doesn’t seems to be the most exciting activity on the schedule in comparison to ATV rides, winery visits, or Masada at sunrise there is something profound and engaging about starting the day volunteering for Israeli’s poor and needy. It’s experiences like these that make one’s trip personal and meaningful and more than just a ‘fun’ experience in Israel. I’d like to think of it as a “cherry on the top” activity. Families and groups walk away saying, “It feels so good to be on the giving side, this activity made my trip so much more meaningful!”

Pantry Packers is a food distributor charity who, every month, delivers crates containing all the necessary foods and household maintenance supplies to Israel’s poorest families and senior citizens.

In an industrial warehouse off a windy dirt path on the outskirts of Talpiot sits a modest warehouse, there are signs leading up the path reading, “Pantry Packers, this way”. Inside Rabbi Menachem Traxler stands at the door to greet you with a big smile on his face, excited for yet another family to join the movement of ‘Gemilut Chasadim – acts of loving kindness’. On arrival he explains our mission. That is, to pack bags of rice for needy families. Simple enough.

So we begin! Each family member is assigned a role in the assembly line. Sticker on bag, open bag, rice in machine, rice in bag, seal bag, pack bag into box, transfer box to cart for distribution – yes, it was that easy! An act that seems so trivial, so simple and so mindless for a Sunday morning, left not only a lasting impression on the Steinhause family, but reminded me how good it feels to take a few minutes out your day to help others and of course to have a great time while doing it!

 A special thanks to the Steinhauses for being so motivated and high-spirited this morning, we packed 263 bags of rice in less than an hour! Well done!

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