Pennsauken Senior Residents Receive Patio Furniture and Raised Gardens from Friends Foundation for the Aging Grant

BURLINGTON, NJ – Senior residents at Lutheran Senior Residence at Pennsauken, an affordable senior housing property, have new ways to socialize with one another thanks to a $7,300 grant from Friends Foundation for the Aging. The grant provided for the purchase of new patio furniture and the first stages of a community garden which included the construction of three raised gardens to address social isolation and food insecurity at the housing community. The presence of the new additions also hopes to promote future opportunities for intergenerational interactions between the residents and community organizations.

The Pennsauken senior apartment building, located at 5610 Route 130, provides 70, one-bedroom apartments developed exclusively for senior citizens with limited income. Residents must be at least 62 years of age and meet income eligibility requirements. The Pennsauken site is one of six affordable senior housing properties owned/managed by Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSMNJ) and provides reduced rate housing to more than 70 seniors.

LSMNJ has several affordable housing properties across the state that have active gardening groups. The enjoyment residents gain from these programs is invaluable. Realizing a need existed at the Pennsauken location, the staff at LSMNJ’s Foundation applied to Friends Foundation for the Aging to receive a grant to cover the cost of purchasing patio furniture and building raised garden beds.

Friends Foundation for the Aging (FFA) is a private foundation and an independent, nonprofit corporation based in Langhorne, PA, which focuses its grant-making activity on innovative, impactful, collaborative, and replicable programs that address aging issues and reflect FFA values. The $7,300 grant awarded to Lutheran Senior Residence in Pennsauken provided the funds needed to purchase supplies for a fully functioning garden and outdoor gathering area. Susan Hoskins, Executive Director of FFA, notes, “The FFA board is aware that gardening projects provide a sense of purpose, build community, and provide healthy nutrition to participating residents.” To help with the project, a local certified master gardener, Karen Hickey, assisted with the planning, design, and fabrication of the three raised garden beds.

At a formal gathering held at the community to unveil and bless the furniture and garden, Yessika Sutton, property manager for the Pennsauken community, explained, “The past few years have certainly been challenging in the wake of the pandemic. Whether it be the social isolation many have felt — unable to see family, friends and neighbors, or the financial challenges we’ve encountered securing food and everyday necessities.” She continued, “Bringing these new amenities to the residents is an opportunity for them to come together again to enjoy each other’s company and receive fresh produce from their new garden.”

Also at the gathering, Pastor José Escalera of Temple Lutheran Church in Pennsauken delivered a blessing to the residents. Lutheran Senior Residence has already established a partnership with the Lutheran church which has a food pantry that the greater community can access. With the installation of the new garden, the residents will not only be able to enjoy their own fresh herbs and vegetables, but also share extras with Temple Lutheran’s food pantry. The partnership also includes inviting the congregants and youth group of Temple Lutheran to work with residents to help maintain the gardens. The sharing of experiences, knowledge, and skills will be mutually beneficial and foster positive long-term relationships with different generations.

To find out more about Lutheran Senior Residence of Pennsauken, or any of LSMNJ’s affordable housing properties, visit our Housing page.  Here, you can also learn more about Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey and the many programs and services offered across the state.


View Images from our August 24, 2022 Patio and Garden Blessing.