By Daniel Horowitz--Two of Jewish Toronto's most prominent and generous philanthropists and community leaders were honoured in Israel recently at Leket Israel's 2nd Annual Gala Dinner, held at Eden Al Hamayim, attracting 700 supporters.
Henry and Julia Koschitzky received the illustrious honour from Leket Israel, the country’s largest food bank and food rescue network which, since its inception in 2003, has been actively working to alleviate the problem of nutritional insecurity among Israel's diverse population through the distribution of excess food to more than 60,000 needy Israelis daily.
Each year, with the help of 40,000 volunteers and dozens of paid workers, Leket Israel rescues over 700,000 hot meals, 90,000 loaves of bread and 13 million lbs of produce and perishable goods, for the benefit of the needy. In addition, Leket Israel supplies over 1 million (7,000/day) volunteer prepared sandwiches to underprivileged children from 100 schools in 25 cities. Food is reclaimed from hundreds of food suppliers and is then redistributed to nearly 300 partner NPOs assisting the poor, invalid-elderly, minorities, children, and at-risk population groups throughout Israel.
The evening, "From the Field to the Plate – The Right of All to Healthy Food" was dedicated to raising awareness and funding for Project Leket, gleaning fruits and vegetables for distribution to the poor.
Gidi Kroch, CEO of Leket Israel, addressed the guests and alerted them to the fact that the new poor is the growing middle class. "A family where two people are working but do not earn enough to put food on the table," said Kroch.
In 1985, Julia, who has received too many awards and accolades to mention, chaired the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) of Greater Toronto’s Women’s Campaign & Advocacy Division, known today as Women’s Philanthropy, and in 1988–1989, she co-chaired UJA’s Annual Campaign. She served for eight years as an officer of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and then, from 1990 to 1992, she as president of United Israel Appeal Federations Canada (UIAFC). In 1998, Julia chaired UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s “Israel at 50” celebrations.
From 1992 to 1997 Koschitzky chaired the Keren Hayesod World Board of Trustees. Since 1990 she has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel and, since 1996, a member of the Agency Executive.
Among those in attendance at the Leket Israel’s Gala Dinner were Natan Sharansky, Ze'ev Bielski MK, and Ariel Maislos, the new general manager of Apple's memory division in Israel.