NGO Leket, which provides free meals in Israeli schools, has appealed to the government for funding to expand the program, but so far all it has received are meetings, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.
Leket CEO Gidi Kroch said his organization lacks sufficient funds and manpower to meet the needs of the schoolchildren. In the new school year, it will provide 8,000 of the neediest with sandwiches; but there is a waiting list of 20,000.
“How long can you have a non-profit running this program?” Kroch asked.
The donor-funded program has fewer than three full-time staff, he said, but could expand its reach dramatically if it had more money even with those bare bones, he said.
Unlike afternoon school lunch programs, this sandwich program targets kids who may not be eating well at home.
“They for sure haven’t eaten this morning, and it’s possible they haven’t eaten since the previous night,” said Kroch. The negative effects of hunger on classroom performance is well known.
Leket also claims that behavior outside the classroom has improved, as educators inform them that violence in the schools where the food is distributed has gone down.
“Violence has gone down, attendance has gone up because of just a sandwich,” he said.
Meetings with with Education Ministry Naftali Bennett have been positive, he said, but so far no tangible results.