Fresh produce is no longer an unaffordable luxury item for more than 130 low-income older adults who participate in Golden Slipper Club Senior Center programming. Thanks to a new partnership between the Center’s parent organization, Golden Slipper Club and Charities, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Mitzvah Food Project, these men and women receive a large bag of healthy fruits and vegetables every other month.
Marcia Garrell, executive director of the senior center, which is located in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield Heights neighborhood, terms the delivery “a true mitzvah” to her clients, many of whom live in The Pavilion, an apartment complex for low-income older adults. “Very few of these seniors own cars, making it difficult for them to go to the supermarket,” she explains. “Fruits and vegetables are priced too high for those with very limited incomes.”
Betsy Klaussman, chair of the board of the center, describes the project as “heartwarming.” She feels “honored to participate in a true mitzvah project which makes a real difference in the lives of the seniors we serve.”
Nancy Gross, a board member of Golden Slipper’s seniorcenter, serves as coordinator for the produce distribution, which has been dubbed the Fresh Food Fair. She coordinates the efforts of 12 to 15 volunteers who uncrate and bag and distribute the produce within a quick 45-minute time period. The volunteers place cookies and candies on the seniors’ tables on Fair days, making the waiting time more palatable.
The Fair is made possible by a $5,000 start-up grant from Golden Slipper Club and Charities, supplemented by a $4,500 grant from Federation’s Mitzvah Food Project. In addition to funding, Deirdre Mulligan, manager of the Mitzvah Food Project, provides hands-on support and advice on selecting produce vendors and suggestions on ways that older adults can stretch their food dollars.
For more information or to volunteer, call Marcia Garrell at 215-877-6667 or email [email protected] .