Founded in 1994 by Barry and Batya Segal, the nonprofit Vision for Israel (VFI) is an international humanitarian-aid center operating in the Judean hills outside Jerusalem, primarily through its distribution outlet, The Joseph Storehouse. Each week, orphans and widows, homeless and handicapped, elderly and geriatric, new immigrants and victims of terrorism all receive food, clothing, toiletries, kitchen and house-hold items, blankets, towels, linens and toys from the ministry.
“We have helped serve about 350,000 individuals in Israel, both Jewish and Arab, with humanitarian aid assistance in some form,” Barry Segal says. “Most people don’t know about the poverty. Israel doesn’t pride itself in letting people know. The country is perceived as a mighty nation and wants to present its best face.”
Segal says the primary aim for VFI is to distribute what it brings in, not to be a storehouse only. By touching people’s “hearts and physical lives” at the same time, their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being all are improved, he says.
The ministry also gives to children through its Operation Pack to School, in which school kids once a year are provided a backpack containing pens, pencils, paper, ruler and eraser. Since 1999 the ministry has equipped 140,000 children with the packs.
VFI’s other ministries include Lonely Soldiers—for men and women who have no family or come from a high-risk home or environment; Family Welfare; Emergency and Medical Relief; and weekly food deliveries.
“Some of the recipients have tears in their eyes when we provide their goods,” Segal says, adding that about 90 percent of VFI donations come from Chrisitians—a gesture that usually touches the hearts of needy Jews. “They often say they didn’t realize Christians love Israel.”