The Life Center of Eastern Delaware County is a facility located in Upper Darby near the intersection of 63rd and Market St that was created by the Community Action Agency in 1996 to serve the needy citizens of Delaware County. It is a 50 bed facility that allows residents to stay for 6 to 9 months while they receive counseling, job search assistance, food, clothing, and general rehabilitation services.

The food service consists of approx 50 churches, synagogues, and mosques whose parishioners purchase, prepare, deliver and serve hot meals that cover every night of the calendar year for the residents of the Life Center and poor people who live in that neighborhood. Most food servers have been doing this for over 20 years. Reformation Lutheran has recently filled the void left by the closing of Messiah Lutheran to continue serving 5 times per year on the 4th Thursday of Jan, March, May, July and September.

I started out as a bystander who went along one night, a little reluctantly, basically as the driver. For the past 15 years or so I guess I am the guy who is calling the signals, cracking the whip and leading our local team. I am writing this article to let you know how it goes and why we hope the folks at Reformation will help us continue this very worthwhile activity.

The process is very open to reinvention but here is a step by step list of supporting tasks:

  1. Check inventory in our storage area then make a shopping list.
  2. Go shopping for paper goods, forks, drink mix, canned and frozen goods.
  3. Make reminder phone calls to team mates and local bakeries.
  4. Announce in church the need for about 12 casseroles five times per year.
  5. Pick up fruit at local market and deliver to the church kitchen. Thurs early PM
  6. Pick up baked goods and deliver to church kitchen. Thurs early PM
  7. Heat vegetables and casseroles in church kitchen. 3:30 -5:30 PM
  8. 6 or 8 people needed to help serve and pack 120-140 meals in Styrofoam containers at the church kitchen 5:30 -6:00 PM.
  9. Load meals and supplies into 2 or 3 cars – 6 or 8 people drive to Life Center 6:00-6:30 PM
  10. Wash pots and pans-empty trash-clean up church kitchen 6:00-6:30 PM
  11. Unload meals and supplies at Life Center, make drinks and set up for cafeteria style service. 6:40 – 7:00 PM
  12. Say Grace 7:00 PM
  13. This is the good part. Nurture and serve all the hungry people waiting patiently.
  14. Head for home around 8:15 PM. Usually by way of the Ale House in Newtown Square or maybe the Boat House in Media ?
  15. Trade stories of the jobs we all have accomplished, the fun we have all had and the joy of sharing with people in need.


Please pick your own spot to jump in and lend a hand. For more information please contact me, Dave Smith, at 610-772-5015.