Providence Kosher meal site expands service to five days a week

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Rhode Island senior citizens who want a hot Kosher lunch will soon be able to get one in Providence five days a week.

The Kosher Senior Café in Providence, operated by Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island’s Kosher Nutrition program, has been serving meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. But thanks to some additional funding, and interest from those they serve, the café will join the Cranston meal site in offering meals and programming Monday through Friday. The change takes place May 1.

“We’re looking forward to this,” said Neal Drobnis, coordinator of Kosher nutrition. “Our seniors are pretty excited.”

Patty Harwood, director of Older Adult Resources at JFS, agreed, saying that they have been looking into this for a long time.

Currently, the meal site is at Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. The café has been there for the last year, during the renovations at the Dwares Jewish Community Center. But the plan is to move back to the JCC by summer, after renovations to the Gussie and Victor Baxt Social Hall and the kitchen are complete.

The Kosher meal site in Providence serves a core of 15 regulars now. More attend on Fridays and during holidays and special events. Drobnis and Harwood say they hope that offering meals on more days, as well as more programming, will attract more people to the meal site.

Expanded programming will include fitness offerings three days a week before lunch, expanded game days and more of the ever-popular current events discussions and schmooze days.

On May 12, there will be a celebration of the expansion to five days a week, including music and a special Mother’s Day gift.

Meals are offered at a suggested donation of $3 for those 60 and older or those under 60 with a disability. Drobnis asks that you call 24 hours in advance if you know you will be attending.

Catering for the nutrition program is provided by Accounting for Taste, a Kosher caterer that operates out of the kitchen at Temple Emanu-El and is supervised by Rabbi Wayne Franklin. The site is funded by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, and meal costs are supported by Blackstone Health Inc., and the State of Rhode Island.

For more information or to make a reservation for the Providence Kosher Senior Café at Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., call 401-338-3189. To make a reservation for the Cranston Kosher Senior Café, at Temple Sinai, 30 Hagen Ave., call 401-743-0009.

FRAN OSTENDORF is the editor of The Jewish Voice.