Israeli Minister of Welfare and Social Services Yitzhak Herzog visited the Colel Chabad packing center in Ashdod, where the organization is preparing shipments for more than 20,000 needy families in advance of Rosh Hashanah.

Each shipment contains four boxes and includes fresh chicken – or a voucher for those in locations too far from the packing center to guarantee the quality of the meat – spices, canned foodstuffs and fresh vegetables. Some 120,000 people living below the poverty level will benefit from the distribution.

Colel Chabad is working in conjunction with 55 cities and smaller municipalities who made requests on behalf of their poorer citizens.

"The idea is to make sure that we serve the most needy, and who better than the local government knows the dire situation of those that need it most," said Rabbi Zalman Duchman of Colel Chabad.

Shoshani Shachar, who is organizing the delivery for communities in Israel's northern region that were hit hardest by last year's Second Lebanon War, said that special emphasis was placed on those in the North to "give them a break from their worries during the holidays."

Said an impressed Herzog after his visit: "I was surprised by the great compassion of Colel Chabad."