- The Church
- Community and Mission
Join us in Worship at Old Pine where we praise God and delve into the sacred story. We gather at the font and table and seek to serve our neighbor.
Each Saturday a group of 50 older adults gathers at the Old Pine Community Center. Since 1978, this program has provided spiritual and social fellowship, a home-cooked noon meal and a bag lunch for seniors.
Shortly after the Old Pine Community Center opened its doors in 1977, it was recognized that there were no programs for older adults. A Temple University graduate student was hired to ring doorbells in East and South Philadelphia to determine what seniors truly need. She found that they were well served by city senior centers Monday through Friday but those facilities were closed on weekends. That meant hundreds of seniors were without companionship and in many cases without adequate food for two days each week.
A small but dedicated group decided to provide a Saturday lunch for a few dozen elderly people every other week. The invitation went out for the last Saturday in April 1978. They came, suspicious at first, but soon learned the lunch was indeed free and so was the morning snack and take home bag with soup, fruit and cookies. After the first invitation, we never again advertised. Word of mouth filled the seats each week as seniors traveled from all over the city.
That was 35 years ago. Throughout those years we have fried, roasted, boiled and scrambled everything from chicken to chickpeas. Support has come from many organizations. Three schools: Haverford, Agnes Irwin and Episcopal Academy collect thousands of cans of soup each fall. Drexel University sends student volunteers each week September to June. Settlement Music School, Philadelphia Sports Center, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and musicians from Old Pine Street Church provide entertainment and wellness programs monthly. The members and friends of Old Pine Street Church do the shopping, meal planning, cooking and volunteer coordination each week. Seasonal celebrations include special Thanksgiving and Easter meals. A wonderful holiday meal is served on Christmas Day.
Volunteers are welcomed and needed each Saturday - especially in the summer months when our college volunteers are on break. To volunteer please call the Community Center at 215-627-2493.
NOTE: We are closed on the following dates in the 1st half of 2013: May 11 & May 25
Kitchen Helpers: 9:30am-1:30pm
Servers & Clean up Crew: 11:30am–1:30pm
"My favorite winter tradition is when my family goes to a community center in Center City Philadelphia on Christmas Day. We get up at about 8:00am, and get dressed, but don't have to wear any special clothes. My Mom, Dad, my sister and my brother and I get into the car. We stop at Wawa to get drinks. I usually get hot chocolate. On the way into town, even though we are Jewish, we listen to Christmas songs on the radio and we sing along to them.
When we get there, we go into the kitchen to say hello to some cousins, aunts, and friends who help set up with us. After we say hello, we begin to set the tables. We put out placemats and bring out silverware, tea cups and napkins. Then when the people start to come, we serve them a snack. My family's good friend, Carl, usually plays songs on the piano.
At noon, we begin to serve the dinner, which is ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, and a roll, but my mom, brother, sister and I don't eat the ham because we keep kosher. Whenever I walk by the people say, "Hi, what's your name?" I say, "Aaron." I enjoy talking to them.
When my aunt comes, she always brings my Chanukah/Birthday presents. I always love to unwrap them before I get home, but I don't want to open them to play with. While the senior citizens are having dinner, I like to go in the gym with my brother. We usually go in the closet to get toys and balls to play with.
At 12:30pm, we serve the dessert. We serve candy canes and other stuff like pie a la mode (pie with ice cream). The senior sitizens leave when they are done dessert and then we clean up. After we clean up, we either go to Chinatown or the movies.
This time is special to me because I get to help senior citizens. I always look forward to doing this every year. I have been doing this ever since I was born. This is my favorite winter tradition."
By: Aaron D.