The cafeteria of the Klein Jewish Community Center was packed on April 23 as Wal-Mart representatives handed a $50,000 check to Klein JCC to help fund its various meal programs.
The check presentation was paired up with the April birthday celebration for seniors whose birthdays are in the fourth month of the year.
Todd Wilson, the market manager of Wal-Mart Stores-Philadelphia, was on hand to personally give the check to Klein JCC, which he believes will help the elderly in the Northeast.
“What we’ve been doing here with Klein JCC is helping them to help homebound seniors get meals,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to help Klein JCC meet that need.”
Wal-Mart has been working with Klein JCC over the past four years to help fight hunger in Northeast Philadelphia. According to Wilson, Wal-Mart has donated $210,000 to Klein JCC over that period.
“It’s part of a company initiative that Wal-Mart started in 2010,” Wilson explained. “In an effort to fight hunger, we’ve committed $2 billion over five years. We’ve been very involved with Klein JCC and instrumental in helping them with their efforts to keep the elderly fed.”
According to the Klein JCC, it delivers more than 58,000 meals to over 600 homebound or chronically ill seniors in the Greater Philadelphia area through its Home Delivered Meals Program.
The program also engages the community as it has over 600 volunteers in more than 30 cooking groups across Philadelphia. They also manage eight produce gardens cultivated and harvested by seniors.
Raechel Hammer, the VP of Development and Compliance at Klein JCC, offered up and interesting statistic during the check presentation, saying that 135 of the 220 residents over the age of 100 in living Philadelphia live in Northeast Philly. That’s 61 percent of Philadelphia’s residents over the age of 100 that call the Northeast their home.
“We served over 120,000 meals to seniors either in our center or in their home,” Hammer said. “The seniors want to stay active, remain healthy, and be independent for as long as possible. We’re here to help.”
Overall, Klein JCC serves more than 1,500 clients, helping feed families, children, and senior citizens.
The reach that Klein JCC has in the community has led many people to be excited about the partnership with Wal-Mart.
“I’m very proud and excited about what Klein JCC is doing,” Wilson said. “There’s such a need for hunger relief, and what Klein does to help serve seniors is amazing.”
In an effort to help Klein JCC become more self sufficient, Wal-Mart, through their Building For The Future Fund, donated $50,000 to help the center build a greenhouse. This donation has helped Klein JCC grow its own produce.
“As a result of the grant, Klein JCC is growing fresh fruits and vegetables,” Wilson said.
“It’s helping to serve the center’s Meals on Wheels program. We don’t just drop a check off and leave; we’ve got associates that come and serve and help out,” Wilson said. “We want to be involved in the communities that we serve. They’re our customers, and that’s what we’re here doing.”
– Text and images by Steve Foltz and Ean Dunn