JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Yasmin Markitan Amar, a social activist from Ashkelon, recently established a remarkable new charity initiative – a “social supermarket” providing free goods for all those who lack basic food items due to their difficult financial situations. Poor families contact her and describe their situation and she opens the supermarket -built in a storage room in her courtyard (“Because I didn’t want to spend precious charity money on hiring a place to keep the food”) in Hana Senesh street and provides them with whatever they want -free of charge.
Two years ago, Yasmin (30) established the Yagel Lev association. She explains that Yagel is a pnemonic for Yasmin Gmach Le’Nizkakim (Yazmin Gemach for the needy) and “the Lev(heart) I just decided to add on.” Yasmin seeks donations from businessmen in the town and with the donations she buys large numbers of items, from food to baby food and personal care items. There is a refrigerator for milk and a freezer for meat items as well. Currently Yasmin is supporting 160 needy families who receive items from the social supermarket.
Yasmin says that “everything began when I received a request from someone needy and tried to help her and it just snowballed. I saw that it gives me a sense of accomplishment and decided to continue. As a child I did not have all of the basic things a child needs. If I can help, why refuse to do so? As time went by more and more families contacted me and I always try and help all of them.”
Yasmin says that she grew up in boarding schools and her birthdays weren’t celebrated and therefore she especially likes to gladden children on their birthdays, bar mitzvas and other joyous occasions. “My mission is that no child should remain hungry,” she adds.
My supermarket is my dream, a place where families can come and take what they need. Not just food packages but whatever a kid wants including yoghurts, snacks and meats etc. Those who ask for a one-time food package receive it but if they want more permanent assistance they need to show their recent bank statements and pay slips as well as ID.
Yasmin makes individual appointments with each family so that they can come without being recognized and stigmatized by others. “My goal is to gladden and assist families. My supermarket isn’t trying to compete, it’s trying to give a good feeling to those who come by giving them a smile and a good feeling. All items were contributed free by wonderful people.”