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Wingz of Love: An LA Family Who Made Aliyah Provides 7,000 Meals to IDF Soldiers

The decision to dedicate their restaurant primarily to providing hot meals for soldiers led to an incredible response from the community.
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January 18, 2024
Drew and Anat Rosen

Anat and Drew Rosen made aliyah from North Hollywood in July 2022 and settled in Ra’anana. The couple, who own a catering company in Los Angeles called Nes Events, initially planned to open a new restaurant, Wingz, in Giv’at Shmuel. However, when the war started, instead of opening their restaurant, they shifted their attention to providing free meals for thousands of Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

“These soldiers are living off canned food and have not had a hot meal; we needed to change that.”
– Drew Rosen

“These soldiers are living off canned food and have not had a hot meal; we needed to change that,” Drew said in a phone interview with the Jewish Journal.

The decision to dedicate their restaurant primarily to providing hot meals for soldiers led to an incredible response from the community. The couple’s four sons, aged 19, 16 and 14-year-old twins, also volunteered to help in the kitchen. 

“We opened a WhatsApp group where we posted requests such as: ‘We need someone to come at 2 o’clock and take food to the soldiers in Gaza,’ and people responded immediately,” said Drew. 

Volunteers took hundreds of packed meals, including chicken kabob, rice and potato salad, to the border of Israel and Gaza, where they were picked up and transferred to the soldiers serving in Gaza. With the community donating over $37,000 and volunteers assisting in packing and delivering the food, Wingz Israel provided 7,000 meals to IDF soldiers.

A couple of weeks after the war began, the Rosens shared a post on their Instagram page: “Our restaurant, Wingz Israel, has been a testament to the commitment we feel to Israel. Just last week, we were informed of 500 soldiers without food for Shabbat. In just four hours, with the help of friends, we prepared meals for all of them. This was a feat even more intense than our experiences catering for large events in Los Angeles. Since then, we’ve provided over 2,000 meals in just five days, partnering with organizations like @leket_israel to support our soldiers and fellow Israelis in need.”

For seven weeks, the Rosens dedicated all their efforts to providing meals to the soldiers, putting their plans for the restaurant on the backburner. On December 18, they finally opened Wingz, and the response has been positive.  It was 11:15 p.m. in Israel when Drew finally had time for the interview. “We’re actually closing at midnight, but we have run out of food so we closed earlier. Thank God the feedback we got had been great, and we keep very busy here” he said. 

For Americans visiting the restaurant, the experience is akin to a homecoming — the familiar scent of buffalo wings, the backdrop of football or basketball games on the big screen TV, and the continuous buzz of conversation in both English and Hebrew. This vibrant atmosphere played a crucial role in Wingz’ success.

Drew was born in the United States, while Anat was born in Israel and immigrated to Los Angeles with her family when she was 3 years old. The idea of making aliyah had been on their minds for a while, but the decisive factor that prompted them to act was the onset of the Covid pandemic.

As the war continued, they could have returned to the U.S. without facing criticism. However, when asked about the possibility of moving back to L.A., Rosen acknowledged that he was often asked that question; his answer remains a resounding “definitely not.”

 “We had anticipated potential conflicts, but not so soon after our move,” he said. “Adjusting to life in Israel has had its challenges but despite these hurdles, our love for Israel remains unwavering. There is no future for the Jewish people if you pack up and leave when there is a problem. You can’t run away from a situation like that, and when you witness so much devastation. This is the time you need to see what you can do. It was unbelievable to see how the country had come together and wanted to help.”

The Rosens now plan to provide meals to wounded soldiers in Israeli hospitals. 

To donate to Wingz Israel, visit: https://my.israelgives.org/en/fundme/WingzLeketIsraelSupport

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