By Raphael Poch, Breaking Israel News
The LIBI Fund, like many other branches of the military, has had one of the busiest months in recent history. Unlike other units, the extra activity emanates from the outpouring of help provided by supporters of the IDF both in Israel and abroad.
The 13 IDF personnel who run the unit, together with a volunteer organization, have been working around the clock to receive, scan, and ship gift packages donated from all over the world to the soldiers currently serving their country.
“Hundreds of gift packages have come in over the past few weeks, if not thousands,” says one spokesperson from the unit. “We are having a hard time keeping up with all of them.”
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The unit’s main objective is to provide help and support for IDF soldiers in any capacity possible. The soldiers involved in the unit deal with the logistics of receiving the donations and attributing it wherever the IDF logistics branch instructs them to. The actual fundraising is done by non-profit organizations that are associated with the project under the name of the LIBI Fund.
LIBI is the official fund of the IDF. Established in 1980 by Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, the goal of LIBI is to provide for the educational, religious, medical and recreational needs of Israeli soldiers.
Another spokesperson for the unit told Breaking Israel News that, “During the conflict we are instructed to deal primarily with issues that the IDF has made a priority, namely receiving and distributing packages for the soldiers. Unfortunately, this means that most of our ongoing projects receive less attention. The non-profits associated with us are doing the fundraising drives in order to allow us, branch of the IDF, to gather whatever the military tells us they need most.”
When asked whether or not the the requests from the IDF have been met, the spokesperson said, “This is the first time that I can remember, that all of the units are receiving whatever they need. So many donors are calling and offering donations. We have even received donation offers of items that we cannot accept such as guns and combat vests. The willingness to help and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.”
The donations, in the form of packages, or other items for the soldiers, arrive at one of the LIBI Unit’s locations. They are scanned for any harmful items, or items that cannot be distributed, and then sent to the units who are most in need of them. “Currently that is the Southern Command where there is a special task force that divides the packages up and sends them to each unit,” said the spokesperson.
“There are lots of well wishes and and blessings that come primarily from children,” the spokesperson continued. “Organizations such as Bank Mizrachi and Rami Levi are major supporters, and have sent large amount of packages. People have even driven up in their own personal cars
and dropped off packages. Recently we had two women who showed up with their daughters and dropped off 20 boxes of supplies for female soldiers,” they said.
In a new development, the unit has begun receiving gift packages from soldiers who prepare packages for other soldiers.
The overwhelming feeling of support and gratitude that the soldiers who receive the packages feel is evident in their posts on Facebook as well as the pictures they send back to the unit.
“They really appreciate all of the help, support and supplies that they receive, and we are happy to provide it for them,” said one of the staff.
While the current needs have all been met, the changing circumstances of Operation Protective Edge requires a flexible and dynamic answer to continue to provide for all the needs of the soldiers.
A new initiative has just begun, requesting head-lamps and knee pads be acquired to allow for easier exploration of the labyrinth of attack terror tunnels that Hamas has built under the Gaza Strip.
The LIBI Fund has begun requesting donations for these items, and or financial donations to help purchase the items. “Whatever the army tells us the soldiers need, that is what we get. that is what we do. It is why Libi was founded, and it is how we help the IDF complete its mission. Your donation helps us do exactly that,” said the spokesperson.