East African Elders Program
The Northgate East African Elders Meal Program started a couple of years ago when a need to serve and support the East African community was identified. Before the pandemic, about 55-60 mostly Ethiopian and Eritrean elders came together for a meal (prepared by our partner, Hunger Intervention Program) at the Northgate Community Center. Aside from the meal, our participants engaged in exercise and recreation, as well as socialization. More specifically, numerous outreach activities took place at the site, including workshops, discussions on safety in the community, and Horn of Africa social work services. In addition, several health and fitness activities occurred. In concurrence with the regular recreation program (games such as bowling, darts and cards) and regular cardiovascular exercise (led by the Program Coordinator or a participant), and other nutrition activities took place. Several presentations were given on food and nutrition and regular screenings for diabetes and blood pressure were available to all who wished to be screened.
During the pandemic, the program has adapted and community organizers, along with Sound Generations, have continued to provide basic services (such as good food bags from Tilth Alliance), as well as other food through the North Helpline Food Bank. In addition, this fall the East African elders will have an opportunity to join online EOSL classes through Literacy Source.
Testimonials from participants:
“I am happy to come here [to the Northgate program] and get together with friends. I am happy to have lunch here and not have to work or make lunch at home. This [program] is very good for me, as I get to meet my brothers and sisters.” –Mihret Tesfa
“I am very happy with the program. I enjoy eating, exercising, and getting together with friends. I get to meet new people and have healthy food—I am very interested in coming here.” -Tadesse Gebrehwot