Tour members are sent packing


Some 250 young Britons packed more than their suitcases on Israel trips. In support of poverty relief organisation the Jaffa Institute, they have been filling food boxes for Israelis in need.

Jaffa dispatches 700 food packages every month, containing such basics as flour, pasta and canned vegetables. The recipients are Jewish, Christian and Muslim families identified by the social services. Boxes need to be filled carefully because of the targeted nature of some items - for example, baby food or products meeting dietary requirements. During festivals, demand for the food aid doubles.

Members of the British groups also helped out at the institute's after-school activity centres.

BBYO member Josh Rom volunteered with his tour group. He was struck by how hard the charity worked for the less fortunate.

"It feels lovely to be involved in this sort of project," said the 16-year-old Londoner.

"We were really made aware of just how much our help was needed, which meant a lot to all of us.

"On our travels this summer we have seen many people who look like they need a helping hand."

The institute's Michelle Gorback said it was "absolutely essential for young British volunteers to get involved. Their assistance and manpower is so valuable when it comes to getting boxes of food packed and out the door."

It was also important to show diaspora youth that Israel was "a real, working state with real social issues".

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