Efrain Garcia Morales, a resident of Casa Carmen Aponte, shows off a box of fresh produce, dairy and meat he received from Giordano Garden Grocery, Jan. 14. The deliveries have become a regular event for Morales and other residents at the Philadelphia senior housing complex, one of several operated by archdiocesan Catholic Housing and Community Services. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne O’Grady Laurito)

Seniors at an archdiocesan housing complex celebrated the visit of the Magi with a well-balanced meal, thanks to a donation of fresh produce from a local vendor.

Residents of Casa Carmen Aponte in Philadelphia’s Norris Square section each received a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with milk, bread, butter, ham and cheese.

The Jan. 14 deliveries, courtesy of Giordano Garden Groceries, helped mark the Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 6), also known among Hispanic Catholics as the feast of the Three Kings.

In recent months, Giordano’s (whose clients have included the acclaimed Vetri and Starr restaurant groups) has been distributing its signature “Fresh Essential” boxes to numerous seniors served by archdiocesan Catholic Housing and Community Services (CHCS).

The agency provides a continuum of care to the region’s older adults through activity centers, in-home support and five apartment complexes, including Casa Carmen Aponte, in Philadelphia. Two additional CHCS facilities, St. Rita Place in South Philadelphia and St. Joseph Place in Collingdale, are under development.


CHCS clients have appreciated the Giordano deliveries, since studies have shown fresh fruits and vegetables, which are widely recommended by medical professionals, are particularly beneficial for seniors. Diets rich in plant-based foods have been demonstrated to reduce the likelihood of heart disease, stroke and chronic conditions such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. Research has also indicated that fruit and vegetable intake can offset cognitive decline, bone loss and several kinds of cancer.

Owner Marcello Giordano, a member of St. Matthias Parish in Bala Cynwyd, said he “grew up delivering boxes of produce” to the elderly and homebound. As part of his family’s business ethic, his firm refused to raise its prices to capitalize on COVID-related demand.

With COVID-related food insecurity on the rise, Casa Carmen Aponte residents “were thrilled” to welcome visitors bearing such timely gifts, said CHCS assistant director Suzanne O’Grady Laurito.