RSVP Philadelphia feeds Northeast seniors during COVID-19 crisis

Senior community centers across the city closed their doors to the public last month due to COVID-19.

However, dedicated volunteers at a Northeast community center are continuing to serve older adults through this health crisis.

Even though the doors of Kleinlife community center in Northeast Philadelphia are closed, Tuesdays are busy.

Meals are being packed up for delivery, thanks to volunteers organized by RSVP Philadelphia, a National Senior Corps program that serves adults 60 and older.

"Most of our volunteers who deliver meals are older adults themselves, says John Eskate, Director of RSVP Philadelphia. "We don't want to put them at a health risk. Today, we're utilizing a lot of younger volunteers who've reached out to us. We're all pulling together in small crews to make sure that we're not overcrowding a room."

Eskate says they've added more delivery routes to help nearly 100 new clients.

"A prepared meal is something that is going to help them to feel safer at home and also meet their nutritional needs," he adds.

Most are what's known as "Cook for a Friend" meals.

"It's a really great product because it's prepared by volunteers who have a lot of love to pour into their meals," Eskate says. "Our clients are receiving anywhere from 5-14 meals a week. And we're really trying to make sure that people have enough food through this crisis."

To ensure safety, volunteers use a drive-thru system, with the food loaded directly into their vehicles.

And no contact deliveries

"A lot of the people in my group are either visually impaired or totally blind as I am -- this program is such a gift," says Marsha Levy of Krewstown.

"It's so important that our program is providing the peace of mind and sustaining nutrition for this generation that is most vulnerable to this health crisis," Eskate says.

RSVP Philadelphia is looking for additional volunteers to help pack and deliver meals to older adults. If you are interested in that opportunity, contributing donations to their meal program or you are an older adult who is interested in receiving meals, visit Kleinlife.org for that information
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