To celebrate the giving spirit of Chanukah earlier this month, Lions Gate and Friends of Jewish Senior Housing came together to pack and deliver 120 free holiday dinners to residents in the Saltzman House. All are part of Federation’s Jewish Senior Housing & Healthcare Service. About 10 volunteers, including Lions Gate CEO David Thompson and Lions Gate Director of Philanthropy Lisa Goldwasser, hand delivered meals to each floor of the Saltzman community.
Aimee Levin, chair for the event, said that they used to donate these kind of Chanukah meals years ago. But now that they’ve been steadily building out their group of volunteers, she hopes to make the event an annual Chanukah tradition. Levin said that the next event on the calendar was slated to be a Chanukah dessert reception with a Klezmer band for assisted living and skilled nursing. “Hopefully, we can start doing these things again,” she said. “We have Tacos & Tequila, which will be our big fundraiser in May to celebrate the 13th anniversary of Lions Gate.”
The delivered meals consisted of a menu of beef brisket, kasha and bowties, glazed carrots, potato latkes, a cup of matzah ball soup, apple sauce, dinner roll, and a piece of chocolate. At 92, Gladys Ollar has been living at the Saltzman house for four years now. She says hello to everyone in the building and tries to cultivate a friendly environment for everyone else to live in. “The meals are marvelous,” she said. “I love matzah ball soup, any kind of soup really. I think it’s wonderful that they’re doing this for us.”
For Nell Kleinberg on the third floor, she planned to have the meal in the company of her good friend and neighbor. She appreciated the delivery in large part since she can’t cook for herself anymore. “It’s very hard to cook, especially as you grow older because your hands aren’t as good,” Kleinberg said. “So, it’s very helpful.”
Heather Kramer, one of the new committee members and volunteers for Lions Gate, started lending a hand this past summer. The Voorhees resident said that she regularly volunteers with the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey in their TOPS Adult Day Program. “I got inspired to volunteer here because my husband’s grandmother lived at Lions Gate for many years and I just thought it was an amazing community,” Kramer said. “She was so happy, they kept her so busy the whole time, and I think it’s just a great organization.”
In October, Lions Gate put together the first annual Susan Love Family Golf Classic event to commemorate the life of their late CEO. Over 250 people attended the event, which surpassed their fundraising target. In memory of Love, some of those funds will be used to renovate the outdoor areas of the Lions Gate Healthcare Center and Saltzman House. “The funds we raised go to help all of our residents in the three homes,” said Levin.