More than 37 years of serving older adults in Philadelphia!
Each Saturday a group of 50 older adults gathers at the Old Pine Community Center. Since 1978, this program has provided spiritual and social fellowship, a home-cooked noon meal and a bag lunch for seniors.
Shortly after the Old Pine Community Center opened its doors in 1977, it was recognized that there were no programs for older adults. A Temple University graduate student was hired to ring doorbells in East and South Philadelphia to determine what seniors truly need. She found that they were well served by city senior centers Monday through Friday but those facilities were closed on weekends. That meant hundreds of seniors were without companionship and in many cases without adequate food for two days each week.
A small but dedicated group decided to provide a Saturday lunch for a few dozen elderly people every other week. The invitation went out for the last Saturday in April 1978. They came, suspicious at first, but soon learned the lunch was indeed free and so was the morning snack and take home bag with soup, fruit and cookies. After the first invitation, we never again advertised. Word of mouth filled the seats each week as seniors traveled from all over the city.
That was 37 years ago. Throughout those years we have fried, roasted, boiled and scrambled everything from chicken to chickpeas. Support has come from many organizations. Haverford School collects thousands of cans of soup each fall. Drexel University sends student volunteers each week September to June. Settlement Music School, Philadelphia Sports Center, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and musicians from Old Pine Street Church provide entertainment and wellness programs monthly. The members and friends of Old Pine Street Church do the shopping, meal planning, cooking and volunteer coordination each week. Seasonal celebrations include special Thanksgiving and Easter meals. A wonderful holiday meal is served on Christmas Day. More than 180,000 meals have been served and we are still going strong.
Volunteers are welcomed and needed each Saturday – especially in the summer months when our college volunteers are on break. To volunteer please call the Community Center at 215-627-2493.
Kitchen Helpers: 9:30am-1:30pm