PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Staff members at KleinLife in Northeast Philadelphia have worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep seniors in the area well fed.
They have provided an increased number of frozen meals to seniors, even though they lost many of the volunteer groups they had come to rely on to cook those meals.
"We had to purchase our meals and it became prohibitively expensive," said Andre Krug, President and CEO of KleinLife.
Krug says over the years KleinLife has become the largest senior center in Philadelphia and during the height of the pandemic, the organization was serving about 3,500 meals a week.
"The demand for delivered meals kind of skyrocketed," he said.
Fortunately, KleinLife's long-standing partner, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, stepped in to help by providing funding to support a partnership with Philabundance, a hunger relief agency.
Melissa Greenberg, Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, says this is exactly what their organization is for - "to serve the most vulnerable in our community" - by connecting philanthropists with need and partnership.
"And this was just a perfect match," she said.
"We work to drive hunger from our communities," says Loree Jones, CEO of Philabundance.
The nonprofit does that by providing emergency food assistance to people who need it now.
Jones said seniors needed an extra boost. Senior meals for KleinLife are now being prepared at the Philabundance Community Kitchen.
"It's a culinary training program designed to help low-to-no-income individuals in our area gain culinary arts training skills, so they can find meaningful employment," explained Jones.
"We teach culinary skills like knife skills, but we also teach life skills," said Brian Ricci, Chef Instructor at Philabundance Community Kitchen.
This important partnership will ensure that quality, nutritious meals can continue for seniors across the area.
"We can purchase the meals from Philabundance and deliver them to people's homes," said Krug.
"It's an uplifting feeling to help other people," said Jay Lipschutz, a longtime volunteer delivery driver for KleinLife.
"To partner with KleinLife to make sure people are getting healthy food in a safe way, that makes us proud," said Jones.
"It is incredible when you can bring people together," said Greenberg. "And we are honored to do that work."
Krug says this partnership is the best thing that ever happened to KleinLife.
"It serves the needs of the community and I'm glad we were able to do it," he said.
For more information:
KleinLife - Philadelphia Community Center: Family & Senior Services
Philabundance - Leading the fight against hunger
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
New partnership assures home-delivered meals continue for Philadelphia senior citizens
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