Experience and scale
Caring for Friends™, formerly known as Aid for Friends, is one of the largest and most comprehensive meal delivery programs in the 5-county Greater Philadelphia region. We typically serve nearly 2,000 clients, the majority of whom are homebound seniors.
There is no charge, time limit, or age requirement for our services. Caring for Friends will extend its services to anyone who is isolated or homebound and unable to afford or purchase food. While the majority of our clients are elderly, about a quarter of Caring for Friends clients are individuals under the age of 60 who are homebound due to disabilities and illness.
With our network of individual and group volunteers and affiliated caring organizations, Caring for Friends tries to serve the entire 5-county greater Philadelphia area—Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia—in every neighborhood where there is a need for our services.
However, we are dependent on our caring volunteers who rise to meet the challenge of serving all neighborhoods where a need exists. If you are looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity and can volunteer for at least 1 hour each week, please sign up to be a Caring for Friends volunteer visitor.
Since its founding in 1974, Caring for Friends has served more than 14,000 homebound and isolated individuals completely free of charge.
Meet our people
Anne McGoldrick is an accountant, a Caring for Friends volunteer visitor, and an intake coordinator for Delaware County. “As long as they need the program, we are there for them,” she says.Read her story
All that we do at Caring for Friends aims to honor the dignity of every individual involved in the program. It’s a philosophy shared by our volunteer visitors, cooks, coordinators, and support staff. We strongly believe that good begets good.
The friendship aspect of our mission is just as important as the delivery of food. Our volunteers spend quality time visiting with our homebound client friends when they deliver meals. Each client is matched with the same volunteer, someone they will visit with each week. This leads to deep and beautiful bonds between our Caring for Friends volunteer visitors and their clients, which is why we often refer to them endearingly as “friends.”
Get a deeper understanding of the relationships formed between visitors and clients by reading some of their stories.
We strive to further strengthen the relationship between volunteer visitors and clients by acknowledging and celebrating holidays, birthdays, and other important milestones in the lives of our clients with personal gifts and cards.
We provide each of our clients with 1 balanced meal per day. All 7 meals are delivered in a weekly visit from their volunteer visitor in frozen metal trays that can be reheated in an oven or toaster oven for serving daily.
As needed, Caring for Friends might also provide Breakfast Bags, or supplemental food, frozen soups, breakfast items, and pantry goods. And we sometimes provide items that can help improve the safety and security of our clients, such as smoke detectors, fans, daily pill dispensers, and more.
Individuals in need of our services are typically referred to us by hospitals, social workers, social and religious organizations, neighbors, and sometimes by family members who live far away from their loved ones in our area. All referred individuals are evaluated by one of our volunteer coordinators and, if eligible for the program, are then matched with a volunteer visitor.
Caring for Friends operates several meal centers and works with affiliated food banks, meal centers, and social services organizations to help individuals in underserved areas of Philadelphia.
Caring for Friends has a network of freezers throughout the Philadelphia area housed in food banks, social service organizations, religious organizations, and other community centers where volunteer cooks can drop off prepared meals and pick up supplies to package new meals. Volunteer visitors pick up the weekly pack of meals to deliver to their clients from these freezers. Click here to find a freezer near you.
We also have a Quick Serve meal program, which utilizes volunteer drivers and telephone visitors to deliver meals and offer friendship to people in need who are waiting for a regular volunteer visitor.
Our Caring Center in northeast Philadelphia is where we support the volunteers who make our meals programs possible and coordinate our other outreach activities for the friends we help. Our Center has a large warehouse where we store supplies and prepared meals, as well as a large commercial kitchen to enable larger service groups to cook meals.