Topics on Aging

By Juan Gallo

We Need YOUR Help as Food for Hope Relaunches

March 15, 2024

Food for Hope relaunches

What if your church was suddenly responsible for feeding 12 seniors every week?

Not the government. Not the local food bank. 

Your church. Your faith community. 

The folks you talk to as you drop off kids off to Sunday school. The people who come 5 minutes after worship starts (every week) and temporarily block your view of the stage as they apologetically slide into their seats. 

Imagine the health of 12 older people is suddenly in the hands of your community. 

How would your church respond? How would you make sure those 12 people ate healthy meals every day? 

I believe God called the church — his people — to that level of service. The work of the church MUST be more than nodding along to the preacher for an hour every Sunday. 

The church is called to show off God’s love by giving away their time to those who need it most. 

I bet you agree with me. Most of us openly lament that the word “church” has collected a thousand extra meanings God never intended. 

The ache you’re feeling at the core of your heart to do something more is an instinct from your Creator. It’s how he designed his people. It’s written right into the DNA of the church. 

Much of the church has been ignoring those instincts. Then they wonder why they’re miserable — like a bird that refused to fly south, shivering right before a snowstorm. 

The Opportunity to Serve

This isn’t my usual appeal for volunteers. Yes, our senior population is growing every day. And yes, Heart2Heart offers endless opportunities to connect to folks who need support. 

Today, my request is different. 

The South Florida community has a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact in the lives of hundreds of its senior neighbors. 

Today, I’m asking 118 volunteers to give 2-3 hours each week delivering nutritious meals to 2-3 seniors. 

We believe the church community is uniquely qualified for this task. We’re asking for more than delivery drivers. We want you to connect with seniors for their social health. We want you to check on their physical wellness. 

We want the church to become an impactful presence in the lives of these homebound seniors. 

We’re asking you to love like Jesus — with healthy meals, an open heart to listen, and genuine care for their wellbeing.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be the church that responds. But if your heart is aching to do more… shouldn’t it be you? 

Why So Many Volunteers?

Last year, Heart2Heart was included in a federal contract to deliver nutritious meals to Broward County seniors

Since June, we’ve been providing referral assessment and outreach to seniors who called the Area Agency on Aging of Broward County (or ADRC Broward) to ask for the federally-funded meals. 

In the last nine months, our patient advocates have been in the homes of hundreds of seniors. They’ve assessed their needs and filled out the paperwork to qualify them for meal deliveries. 

You probably know the federal meal delivery service — officially called Older Americans Act Nutrition Services Program — by the nonprofit that used to deliver the meals in Broward County: Meals on Wheels. 

ADRC Broward’s new direction for the program gives seniors more choices. Now they can choose to receive meals from one of four options, including our partners: the restaurant Offerdahl’s Off-The-Grill and the catering company Sushi Maki.

Our role in the program has allowed us to connect with more seniors. Aside from the assessment work, our patient advocates connect seniors to other resources — and to our volunteers! 

And while Heart2Heart delivery volunteers were integral to our Food for Hope pilot program, they haven’t been involved in this new contract. Offerdahl’s and Sushi Maki hired delivery drivers to handle that part. 

However, that’s about to change. And that’s where you come in. 

Food for Hope is BAAACK!

Heart2Heart volunteers will deliver the federally funded weekly meals to our Broward County seniors — meals lovingly prepared by Sushi Maki and Offerdahl’s Grateful Fresh. 

With that, Food for Hope has returned! 

Our partners are asking us to take on this additional role because seniors need more than another package dropped off at their doorstep. 

Seniors need a genuine connection to the community. 

Sushi Maki and Offerdahl’s are owned by men who are Christian leaders and generous entrepreneurs in our community, Abe N.G. and John Offerdahl, respectively. 

With your help, we can show our community how Jesus followers are making a difference for seniors in Broward County. 

To join the Food for Hope movement, become a volunteer!

If you’re already a Heart2Heart volunteer, text “Food for Hope” to our volunteer coordinator at 954-807-2220.

Read more about:
Juan Gallo
Juan Gallo is the CEO of Heart2Heart Outreach, where he oversees the mobilization of volunteers to provide hope, share love and restore purpose to the lives of the aging population across South Florida.

He also serves as a local pastor and as an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, where he is teaching a course on diversity and aging. Juan has a master’s degree in counseling and psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor intern.

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Juan Gallo

This blog is a frank conversation about what it means to age in our society.

I want us to consider what a wider range of diverse experiences when we talk about aging. I want to reflect on how we, as a community, want our neighbors and our mothers and fathers and our grandparents to live out their latter decades of life. I want us to consider each one of their voices as we strive to meet their needs.

Join me for weekly discussions about what it means to be a senior in South Florida and how we can and should respond to the growing needs of the aging population.

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