A mission to serve
At Caring for Friends™, our specialty and what we’re passionate about, can be boiled down to 2 simple, yet crucial, aspects of life: food and friendship.
Our work through thousands of volunteers here at Caring for Friends, formerly known as Aid for Friends, is driven by our mission to alleviate the hunger and loneliness of our senior neighbors and others in the Philadelphia area who are isolated, homebound, or disabled.
The problem of hunger
Hunger is particularly problematic in Philadelphia. According to a report released by the nonprofit Hunger Free America, although hunger has decreased across most of the United States over the last several years, the number of people facing hunger in Philadelphia has actually increased by 22%. This report found that in the 2015-2017 time frame, about 18.3% of Philadelphia residents lived in households that were characterized by the government as “food insecure.”
Approximately 1 in 5 Philadelphians are unable to access nutritious and sufficient food.
Impact of social isolation
Another issue plaguing the Philadelphia area is isolation, particularly within the populations of senior citizens and disabled individuals. Studies have found that social isolation has a profound and detrimental impact on people’s health. In fact, some health studies have found that the effect of a lack of social relationships is comparable to that of well-established health risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Where Caring for Friends comes in
The knowledge that there are countless individuals living in the Philadelphia area who are not only hungry and unable to afford food, but also sick and isolated in their homes, without friends and family to help support them, is what inspired the founder of Caring for Friends and continues to inspire the work of volunteers today.
Our volunteer visitors meet with client friends throughout the 5-county greater Philadelphia region, providing them with much-needed home-cooked meals. But, more valuable than that, these visitors also nourish our clients with friendship, all free of charge.
Caring for Friends volunteers prepare meals that are stored in freezers in over 200 secular and religious organizations and our Caring Center in northeast Philadelphia. From there, volunteer visitors pick up these meals and distribute them in weekly visits with clients. Most of our clients, whom we refer to as our friends, are elderly individuals who could not otherwise remain in their homes without the support of the meals we bring them.
Through the generous support of our donors and individual, corporate, and group volunteers, we serve nearly 2,000 homebound friends. See our full list of programs.
Since our founding in 1974, we have served over 15 million meals to more than 14,000 homebound, isolated individuals.
Caring for Friends is known for doing a lot with a little. We have a small support staff aided by regional coordinators who help run the organization and support the volunteers on a day-to-day basis. The staff is guided by a board of directors, composed of business, nonprofit, and community leaders.
We are a registered 501(c)(3) organization in Pennsylvania.
Meet our people
Caring for Friends client, Ann Connors, joined by volunteer visitors Carl Stacey (left) and his wife Kelly (right), is a feisty retired nurse who enjoys a good joke—she did go to clown college after all.Read her story