My husband & I suddenly had a free Friday morning together. We debated going out for breakfast but decided to pick up some groceries instead and do a breakfast date at home. We parked at a supermarket we passed on the way. I decided that I wanted to get fresh juice, a pre-cut salad, cheese, and a nice loaf of whole wheat bread.
As soon as I walked in I realized that I wasn’t in ‘my’ supermarket. The bread counter was right in the entrance of the store. The bread offered was simple and the selection limited. They didn’t have any of the breads that I liked. I got some simple white rolls instead. I passed the meat counter and noticed that also there the selection was limited. I continued towards the vegetables. No pre-cut salads. And no ‘luxury’ fruit or veggies either. Simple and basic. I got some lettuces, cucumber and tomatoes to cut up and make my own salad. Fresh juices were not to be found. The dairy section was next and also there the selection was limited.
I was kind of bothered that I could not find the things I wanted. I almost regretted not going out for breakfast instead. But then I started to look around me, at the people in the store.
In ‘my’ supermarket people fill up their carts for the weekend but here people where buying very modest amounts. People compared prices. No one was buying snacks or soda. Only real food. And this was their Shabbat shopping. They were buying the basics. The items that the government subsidized. Payment was done in cash and more than once people put items back due to insignificant funds.
But is wasn’t just the items in their baskets or carts. Their coats & shoes were worn. Clothing was clean but dated. Haircuts were simple and hair color done at home. After the shopping groceries were not loaded into the car, but people walked home or took the bus.
Israel is a modern country, we are the startup nation. There is a lot of advancement. We are doing well. But minimum wage is low, so low that it doesn’t cover the cost of living. Even families with two incomes struggle to make ends meet. Many people work very hard but are only able to provide the bare minimum. The financial struggle is even greater for single parent families. They live paycheck to paycheck with nothing left for extra things.
It was uncomfortable to be confronted with how hard life is for so many people. But it was important for me to have this experience, took look outside of my bubble. Because this kind of living is the reality for the families that we help at CBN Israel. Hard working families and single moms who simply don’t have the funds to buy a new refrigerator when theirs breaks, or get winter coats for their children, or simply have some extra’s for the holidays.
We want to bless these families by helping them with their very real needs. We want them to know that we care and reassure them that they are not alone. But most of all, we hope that we get to show them the love of the Messiah.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 35-40