By Ukee Washington

By Ukee Washington

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At the Klein Jewish Community Center in northeast Philadelphia, a dinner of “cheesy pasta and vegetables” is served. An all-volunteer team is roasting vegetables, scooping pasta, and packing meals.

Sue Aistrop, the hunger relief volunteer manager for the Klein JCC, said, “We’ve recruited over 600 volunteers just in the last two years to step up and do this, and we have a great time.”

Klein JCC calls it “Cook for a Friend.” In kitchens across the area, hundreds of volunteers cook up to 50,000 meals a year for homebound senior citizens.

“And it’s not only the meal,” said Raechel Hammer, vice president of development and compliance at Klein JCC. “They get soups and donated breads and often cookies or bags that are prepared by preschoolers who are really thinking of them.”

“Thank God I can afford dinner at this point in my life, but nobody knows what lies ahead,” said volunteer Shelly Stark. “And you really feel like you’re helping some seniors by coming.”

The meals are not only made by volunteers, they’re delivered by volunteers as well. Joe Kaytes delivers meals once a week to seniors such as Bertha Carmosky.

“I bless him every time he opens that door,” Carmosky said.

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There’s a suggested donation of two dollars per meal or $14 a week.

“It’s a blessing that I don’t have to stand over the stove and cook for hours,” said Carmosky.

“I’m so blessed that I can walk the steps and do everything,” said Kaytes. “And I’d like to give back a little to the community.”

That’s food for thought, feeding her soul and his.

There’s always demand for more food. If you have access to a commercial kitchen and friends who like to cook, you can help too.

People interested in volunteering can contact Sue Aistrop, hunger relief volunteer manager for Klein JCC, at or 215-698-7300 ext. 196.

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Ukee Washington