KleinLife grows nutritional services with new hoop house

The new structure grows fresh produce to be used to expand the KleinLife Home Delivered Meals Program.

Growing efforts: A ribbon-cutting ceremony was recently held to unveil a “hoop house” at KleinLife, 10100 Jamison Ave. The new garden will be used to grow fresh produce to expand the KleinLife Home Delivered Meals Program. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

KleinLife, RSVP Philadelphia and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia last week marked the completion of their second “hoop house” with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new structure, located in the rear parking area at KleinLife, 10100 Jamison Ave., grows fresh produce and other ingredients to be used to expand the KleinLife Home Delivered Meals Program for senior citizens who cannot shop or cook for themselves. It was constructed with the help of a $6,000 grant from the Jewish Federation Real Estate Fund.

John Eskate, director of RSVP Philadelphia, explained that the structure will further extend the year-round life of the growing season to provide more meals for area seniors.

TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

Eskate was joined by Brian Gralnick, director of the center for social responsibility for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Andre Krug, president and CEO of KleinLife; Sue Aistrop, director of adult services for KleinLife; and state Sen. John Sabatina Jr.

Gralnick called the hoop house “a real jewel for Northeast Philadelphia.”

Aistrop said the food grown in the structure will help make KleinLife “a pillar of nutrition services in Northeast Philadelphia.”

Eskate described the construction as hard labor, made worse by the rain and mud, but said it was “a labor of love.”

Eskate said the hoop house, with two doorways, venting and a plastic covering, has proven to be “incredibly fruitful,” with 550 pounds of food grown already and birds, bees and butterflies paying a visit.

Sabatina believes the hoop house will be a success.

“It’s symbolic of the great work that KleinLife does,” he said.

KleinLife, in cooperation with RSVP Philadelphia, provides 70,000 meals annually to area seniors who cannot shop or cook for themselves. The program also includes Cook For A Friend, which relies on volunteer groups and organizations that cook meals that are then packaged and frozen for delivery by volunteer drivers. ••