Lunch around the table with friends was once the highlight of the day for many guests at the Kosher Senior Café at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence, and Temple Sinai, in Cranston. But COVID-19 changed all that.
Seniors can still take part in a lunch program, but it looks a little different since the meal sites closed in March. Lunch is now delivered to their door instead: two lunches each Monday and Wednesday and one on Friday.
It’s the socializing that they say they miss.
On Oct. 9, a warm fall day, a drive-by barbecue was a welcome activity organized by Neal Drobnis and others involved in the Kosher Nutrition program at Jewish Collaborative Services (JCS). The participants picked up lunch from Ahava Catering in its kitchen on Elmgrove Avenue and then went to Lippitt Park in Providence, where Blackstone Boulevard meets Hope Street, to eat in a socially-distanced way. They were treated to music by JCS’ own Laura Cole, who played the harp during the gathering.
Drobnis, the Kosher nutrition coordinator for JCS, has also been trying to keep the Kosher Senior Cafés’ “guests,” as he calls them, and others involved in a range of online programming.
There are plenty of activities to stay connected: Zoom programming each Tuesday and Thursday offers yoga, a book discussion, special speakers and time to schmooze.
The Thursday before Election Day, Rep. David Cicilline participated in an online lunchtime Q-and-A with about 16 people. It was a relaxed get-together with a brief presentation by Cicilline and plenty of time for questions. Topics ranged from Social Security and Medicare to elections and legislation.
Kosher Senior Café meals are available to anyone age 60 and up for $3. If you would like to order meals, contact Elaine Shapiro at 401-338-1690 at least one day in advance.
The Kosher Cafés are a program of JCS, which also runs Kosher Meals on Wheels. Shapiro, of JCS, says the program is in need of drivers. If you are willing to give a few hours of your time to help the seniors in the Rhode Island Jewish community, call Shapiro at 401-338-1690.
FRAN OSTENDORF (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor of Jewish Rhode Island.