Meir Panim: Young Aiding Old Program
American Friends of Meir Panim is a nonprofit organization devoted to ending poverty in Israel. Their goal is to aid the needy while keeping in consideration everyone’s right to a certain amount of dignity. They do not believe in helping the impoverished by thinking about them as all the same; all people are different with different needs be they poor or wealthy, and all people deserve respect. Keeping this notion in mind, the organization has developed a number of social and food programs designed to not only alleviate the immediate effects of poverty, but create long lasting solutions to help bring the country out of poverty as a whole. One example of these programs is the idea of free restaurants. Operated much like a soup kitchen where everyone is welcome and the food is free, the free restaurants are, in fact, much different. At the free restaurants, patrons are invited to dine at what looks and feels like an actual dining restaurant. Patrons are served by volunteers who take the time to listen and talk to each individual while serving hot, nutritious meals.
American Friends of Meir Panim isn’t just trying to help those stricken by poverty, but the country as whole in order to bring and keep everyone out of poverty. In addition to their many programs designed to alleviate the effects of living under the poverty line, they also have programs that help at risk youth become more productive members of society. Due to an overwhelming increase in violence and poverty, children are especially susceptible to the environment around them. Meir Panim has created the Young Aiding the Old program to help both the youth population, and elderly individuals that have become victims of involuntary solitude.