Tuesday, June 25th | 22 Sivan 5779

December 10, 2015 3:51 pm

British Rabbi Helps Lead Initiative to Feed London’s Homeless Over Hanukkah

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The Light Project redistributes leftover food (pictured here) from food establishments to homeless shelters and those in need in London. Photo: The Light Project.

The Light Project redistributes leftover food (pictured here) from food establishments to homeless shelters and those in need in London. Photo: The Light Project.

A British rabbi is among the leaders of a new initiative to feed the homeless over the holiday season, The Algemeiner has learned.

Rabbi Yisroel Weisz spearheaded the project along with Alex Springer and Ben Prevezer to redistribute leftover food from kosher and non-kosher supermarket chains and independent businesses around London to homeless people living in shelters and on the street.

“The message of Hanukkah is that the light of kindness must shine outward and this was our way of putting that into practice,” said Rabbi Weisz, who aptly named the program The Light Project.

Some establishments have given the Light Project not only leftovers, but also food packaged specifically for the initiative. With the help of Zipcar, which provided free vans, the trio and 12 volunteer drivers launched the first food run on Wednesday, the fourth night of Hanukkah. Participants included restaurants, cafes, salad bars and street vendors.

“The miracle of Hanukkah is that people in London last night got fed from the lights of 2,300 years ago,” Rabbi Weisz said.

Prevezer told The Algemeiner on Thursday how the trio started the concept with the encouragement of Rabbi Weisz. He said addressing the issue of homelessness in London is “something that’s been on our minds for a while.”

“A group of us have been having shiurim [Jewish study classes] once a week with Rabbi Weisz and it’s always been on our agenda to engage the young community in interesting initiatives with a kind of a social impact, and homelessness is something that has been on our radar for a little while,” said Prevezer. “The rabbi started talking to us about Hanukkah a few months ago and that we should start thinking about what we can do and so it’s a perfect time for the food run to start. It wasn’t planned to happen now, but I’d like to think that it came about now for a reason, around the time of Hanukkah.”

UK census estimates reveal that some 2,744 people across England are homeless, a 55 percent increase from 2010 figures, according to the UK’s Express. 

Prevezer explained that the food run on Wednesday night was the “first step” in creating a long-term and permanent solution for food redistribution. With the help of Rabbi Weisz and Springer, he said, he hopes to build on the success of this week’s launch to establish a sustainable, larger-scale mechanism to aid London’s homeless while addressing the issue of wasting leftover food.

Anyone can get involved in the food run by volunteering to drive one of the donated vans or collect the food. For further information, visit: wearelaced.com; Twitter: @lightprojectLDN ; email: lacedlondon@gmail.com.

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