With approximately half the Israeli population volunteering in some capacity since the start of the Swords of Iron war on October 7, you might think we have enough volunteers – but we truly don’t.
Labor is in short supply due to hundreds of thousands of Israelis called up for reserve duty, foreign workers leaving the country, and many people unable to get to their workplaces because of war-related childcare or safety issues.
Moreover, the needs for helping hands in fields such as emergency medical care, agriculture and mass feeding programs have never been greater.
Here are some of the initiatives that welcome English-speaking (and other foreign and domestic) volunteers with open arms.
Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP) is staffing two projects in addition to its professional firefighters initiative: The EVP Mass-Feeding Unit, working with Israel’s Home Front Command, trains volunteers to prepare fresh, healthy meals for IDF units and needy populations using a fleet of mobile kitchens. The EVP Make A Soldier Smile project has volunteers cooking meals at popup field kitchens on army bases.
Israel Food Rescue Mission is a joint effort of HaShomer HaChadash, Kol Israel and Brothers in Arms, in response to a war-related manpower crisis on Israeli farms. As of November 20, because more than 1,500 people applied, this program has been restructured: volunteers may sign up for five or more days (paying their own way) or for a year-long stint doing agricultural work and sleeping on the farm.
For new immigrants willing to volunteer on farms through HaShomer HaChadash, click here.
Mission Hinenu is helping understaffed hospitals by processing paperwork for licensed medical personnel (physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists, psychologists, pharmacists) and non-medical personnel (patient transport, feeding and other tasks) able to come to Israel to volunteer. Spearheaded by siblings Yigal Marcus and Eliana Marcus Aaron, Mission Hinenu works in partnership with the Health Ministry to find and place hospital volunteers efficiently.
Another volunteer portal for foreign physicians willing to come to Israel for two weeks during the war has been opened by Nefesh B’Nefesh in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency for Israel. Dctors with valid licenses from North America, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and the EU may apply.
Click here for the NBN physician volunteer application form.
Jewish National Fund-USA has scheduled a series of five-day volunteer missions in Israel, starting December 10-14. Participants (ages 18 and up) will be housed in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and spend four to six hours per day working in agriculture or with displaced families, or assisting with logistical duties at an IDF base.
Click here to sign up and to get more information on JNF-USA volunteer missions.
Startup Reserves for Israel, based in New York, is recruiting thousands of tech workers to give support, guidance and staffing to some 25 companies in Israel’s high-tech sector. According to an Israel Innovation Authority and Start-Up Nation Policy Institute report, 15% to 20% of tech employees have been mobilized for reserve duty, leaving 70 percent of Israeli tech companies operationally shorthanded.
Citrus & Salt in Tel Aviv paused its usual cooking workshops and launched Citizen’s Kitchen to provide 500 daily fresh meals for Israeli soldiers and displaced families. Sisters Aliya Fastman and Shaendl Davis, with Alon Sharaby run the project and work in cooperation with World Central Kitchen. The volunteer effort is staffed mainly by English-speaking immigrants and visitors.
To volunteer at Citrus & Salt, contact Aliya Fastman, firstname.lastname@example.org or +972-53-334-6861.
Pantry Packers of Jerusalem ordinarily provides Meals on Wheels to 37,000 families every month, and also runs soup kitchens. Now, with thousands of refugee families from the south sheltering in Jerusalem, the city asked Pantry Packers to commit to providing 6,000 meals, three times a day. Lots of extra hands are needed.
OneFamily needs volunteers to provide a range of services to victims of terror, from cooking and baking to visiting injured people in the hospital and more, as well as administrative support services such as social media, photography and answering phones.
Apply to volunteer at OneFamily here.
Adopt-A-Safta is welcoming foreign volunteers, with access to a vehicle, to deliver Shabbat meals to isolated seniors on Friday mornings. Many of the recipients are Holocaust survivors in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Volunteers may complete this form online to help Adopt-A-Safta with meal delivery.
Birthright Israel alumni, aged 18 to 40, can spend two weeks volunteering in food rescue operations as well as sorting, packing and distributing goods for civil and military personnel. Birthright is offering free airport transfers as well as health insurance and accommodations in Tel Aviv with safe rooms. The first trip is scheduled for November 20 to December 3.
Apply here for Birthright Israel alumni volunteer trips.
Masa Israel Journey is offering a new six-week volunteer program, designed in response to the ongoing conflict. Participants may choose food packaging, tutoring, agricultural work, assisting displaced families or contributing to rehabilitation efforts in southern and northern Israel.
The program also includes leadership seminars and certifications of leadership upon completion of the program. The first cohort begins December 5 and is open to individuals aged 18-40, with more starting dates being announced soon.
Apply to Masa’s volunteer program here.
Leket Israel, in addition to its usual volunteer opportunities at its Logistics Center in Gan Haim (near Kfar Saba) and fields in Rishon Lezion, has begun matching volunteers with farmers in need of assistance in harvesting their produce.
To volunteer with Leket Israel harvesting produce, supporting a farmer, or packing in the Logistics Center, register here.