There is some truth to the old adage, “a little goes a long way.” Our West Philadelphia Senior Community Center (WPSCC) will expand its capacity to provide free and nutritious meals to seniors in need and provide nutrition education workshops and cooking demonstrations – thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, operated by Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS,) serves over 1,600 adults each year. A majority of members are low-income residents of impoverished West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods. The WPSCC offers a daily breakfast and hot lunch, education and recreation activities, health/wellness programs, benefits access and referral services and other supports to address the basic needs of seniors age 50 and older. Additionally, the Center operates an In-Home Support program which provides benefit access and referral services for up to 600 homebound seniors each year.

“LCFS is excited about this opportunity to partner with Bank of America to address the basic needs of hundreds of disadvantaged seniors in our community,” said Patricia Stanley, Director of the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center. “For many, the WPSCC is where they receive their only hot meal of the day or have the opportunity to socialize with friends. This grant from Bank of America will provide vital resources to meet their basic needs and ensure they are connected to other supportive resources in their community.”

In fiscal year 2014, the WPSCC served 18,847 meals to senior citizens. The expanded program will be offered free of charge to members of the WPSCC and will include distribution of fruit and vegetables, seminars from local nutrition experts and visits from LCFS social workers to help especially vulnerable seniors access benefits and other community resources.

The WPSCC (1016 41st Street, Philadelphia) is located in the two square miles of West Philadelphia that was recently designated as a “Promise Zone,” a federal initiative to address challenges of areas of deep and persistent poverty. The poverty rate in this specific neighborhood is 50.78%, nearly double the city’s rate of 26.9%. The “Promise Zone” designation brings more federal attention to West Philadelphia for grants and funding opportunities, and helps attract investment from generous organizations, such as Bank of America, who are making a difference in the community.

The WPSCC is among 15 Philadelphia-area nonprofits awarded grant funding from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to benefit basic human services for individuals and families. Tom Woodward, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Market President, Bank of America, said these grants build on a long standing investment in human services in Philadelphia, particularly in hunger relief.

“Having access to nutritious meals is something that many of us take for granted, but is essential for maintaining strong, healthy local communities,” said Woodward. “We are proud to support the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center in its mission to assist our city’s seniors in meeting this most basic need.”