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MOTTI, AGE 9
Motti was only five years-old when his father died. Yet despite his young age, Motti was keenly aware of his family’s increasing hardship and poverty during the months after his father’s death. Motti’s father had been a taxi driver who worked long hours to provide his family with a good income and a comfortable, if modest life. Motti’s mother had been a housewife, staying at home to care for Motti and his seven siblings. With the death of Motti’s father, his mother — unskilled and untrained — began working as a cleaner in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. Motti’s family had to move from their comfortable flat in Tel Aviv to a much smaller apartment in poverty-stricken Jaffa.
The family’s move to a rundown apartment building in a high crime neighborhood was not the worst hardship they had to face. As time went on and Motti’s mother continued to work long hours for a very low wage, food became scarce for Motti and his family. After rent and utilities, there was no longer enough money to adequately feed the family. A year after the death of Motti’s father, the family was surviving on one meal daily: pita bread with chocolate spread.
Motti’s mother was a proud woman and reluctant to accept charity. Yet Motti’s school counselor referred him to the Jaffa Institute’s Moadoniot/ After School Activity Program, where Motti began to receive a daily hot meal. After several months of monitoring by the Tel Aviv Jaffa Department of Welfare, Motti’s mother began to receive income supplements that eased the burden of meeting monthly expenses. The family was also enrolled into the Jaffa Institute’s Food Distribution Program. The family immediately began to receive huge food parcels, twice a month, containing staples such as rice, flour and pasta, as well as canned goods, breakfast cereals, holiday-specific goods and even treats for the children, such as peanut butter and jam.
No longer suffering from the pangs of hunger, the children are healthier, happier and performing better in school. Motti’s mother, still working in a low paying job, intends to enroll in the Institute’s Welfare to Well Being workplace training program for local mothers.