Young Adults on a Mission to Combat Food Insecurity


Young members of the Renaissance Group of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia prepare nutritious kosher meals for older adults in need.

The old adage that “too many cooks spoil the broth” has officially been disproved by the 20 young people who gather together each month to prepare meals for Jewish older adults in need.

These men and women, all members of the Renaissance Group of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, prepare 100 tasty and nutritious kosher meals in the kitchen of Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Center City for seniors served by Cook for a Friend.

Cook for a Friend, supported by Federation, is a community-based program comprised of more than 500 volunteers who prepare, cook and package meals for homebound seniors. Due to an increase in the aging population and downturns in the economy, their client population continues to grow, with more and more seniors unable to see to their own needs.

Close to 50,000 meals were delivered to elderly, frail, homebound seniors this past year, and the Renaissance Group and BZBI are excited to contribute to this effort with a goal of 1,200 meals a year.

Renaissance members Brittany Buschel and Stephanie ­Reich started this Cook for a Friend group after they became aware of the large numbers of Jewish individuals in the Great­er Philadelphia area who are challenged by hunger and food insecurity.

Buschel credits Renaissance staff adviser Melanie Krutzel with giving her and Reich the knowledge and support necessary to get things started. “Melanie encouraged us to follow our passions and create something that would allow us to come together and strengthen our Jewish identity and have a positive impact on our community,” Buschel said, adding: “There’s no greater feeling than giving back and having a good time while doing so.”

Reich is equally enthusiastic. “Since I started the Renaissance Group’s Leadership Development Program, I have been looking for a way to give back to the community. I discovered an opportunity to take on a leadership role as co-chair of Cook for a Friend. In this position, I am able to combine my love of food and cooking with my strong interest in community service. It has been a very rewarding experience using my culinary creativity while helping others.”

For more information about Renaissance Group and Cook for a Friend, visit: or contact Melanie Krutzel at [email protected]


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