“The corona crisis is worldwide, it’s here to stay, and we in the third sector have to share information on the techniques and solutions we’re all inventing on almost a daily basis to deal with the new normal,” says Gilles Darmon, founder and president of Latet Israeli Humanitarian Aid, (To Give) the largest NGO combating poverty and food insecurity in Israel.
Darmon invited prominent American colleagues to join him for Latet’s first online conference, “From Chaos to Relief,” to be held September 14. The goal is to develop international best practices to mitigate the social effects of the Covid-19 crisis and manage future crises.
Some of the US speakers will be UJA Federation of New York CEO Eric Goldstein; social change investor Jeff Swartz, president of American Friends of Latet; Jay Sanderson, President & CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; Share our Strength Executive Chairman Bill Shore; and David Schizer, Dean Emeritus of Columbia Law School and former CEO of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
Among Israeli participants are Darmon; Latet Executive Director Eran Weintrob; Yael Eckstein, President & CEO of the International Federation of Christians and Jews; and Dr. Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Israel’s national “coronavirus czar.”
“There’s a lot of common ground for us to generate in terms of innovation and impact,” says Darmon, who founded Latet in 1996.
As an umbrella organization for 180 Israeli nonprofits, Latet operates a national food bank and programs such as free home repairs.
Normally, Latet serves 60,000 families and 1,000 Holocaust survivors monthly with the help of 70 full-time staff members and 23,000 volunteers contributing half million hours annually.
During its Corona Emergency Response operation, another 10,000 households were added, and 45,000 food and hygiene product packages were delivered to 15,000 needy seniors in April, May and June.
“Then, with the Ministry of Welfare we provided 28,000 additional elderly and Holocaust survivors with a food/hygiene product package to keep them safe at home during the lockdown period,” says Darmon. “In total, more than 4,000 volunteers and IDF soldiers helped us for this very challenging operation.”
In addition, he notes, Latet experienced an 88 percent rise in requests for help from its call center since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We are experiencing a sharp increase in volunteers and donations,” Darmon tells ISRAEL21c. “Israeli society has amazing resilience capabilities; everyone wants to help others. And the NGOs are the point of access to anyone who wants to help. The third sector was most reactive and accurate solution provider for the crisis at the beginning.”
The online conference, he says, “is a different way to engage the relationship between the US and Israel. It’s not about money but about experience, and each has something to offer the other. I hope it’s just the beginning, because the challenge is not over.”
Sessions will include “Food access in times of quarantine: A critical challenge for vulnerable populations,” “Surviving Covid 19: The new normal of the elderly and Holocaust survivors” and “Covid 19 crisis management: the need for a tailored response.”
“From Chaos to Relief” begins at 11am Eastern time, 6pm Israel time, September 14. Further information, click here.