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 Working Out at Lunch Plus                                        

Tuesdays and Thursdays are good days for Toby and Herb Geduld. That’s when the university heights couple, with Toby at the wheel, drive over to the Mandel JCC’s lunch plus program for an afternoon of exercise, socialization and a delicious Kosher lunch.

“Lunch Plus has a lot going for it,” says Herb Geduld, 86. “It gives us a chance to get out of the house, to work out with a great fitness instructor and to meet friends.”

Toby, 82, shares her husband’s enthusiasm, and says along with all the good things about Lunch Plus, an extra perk is the kosher lunch the couple enjoys with friends. “Because we are Orthodox sitting down to a nicely prepared kosher lunch is a treat and a big help because it gets me out of the kitchen,” says Toby.

A few years ago, the couple heard about Lunch Plus from close friends who encouraged them to participate in the program. “Herb and I thought we would give it a try and have been coming ever since,” says Toby.

Lunch Plus, located at Warrensville Community Apartments in Cleveland Heights, annually provides12,000 nutritionally balanced hot kosher lunches six-days-a-week to 240 elderly adults. Equally as important, Lunch Plus provides a rich variety of stimulating activities and opportunities for socialization designed to help seniors stay engaged and active.


(L-R) Toby Geduld, Pauline Calabrese, and Herb Geduld

The goal for Lunch Plus is to reduce isolation in the senior population by providing programming and meals. This program goes a long way to keep our seniors active, healthy and living independently in our community,” says Yolanda Nixon, the Lunch Plus Adult Services Supervisor.

One of the added benefits of attending Lunch Plus is that all participants can take advantage of the 55-minute exercise program offered Tuesdays and Thursdays immediately prior to lunch. The Gedulds schedule their Lunch Plus visits to coincide with the days the fitness class is offered. “The structured exercises are something we would not be able to do alone at home,” says Toby.

Keeping active and t is important to the Gedulds who are parents of three children, grandparents of 15, and great grandparents of 24. Along with raising an accomplished family, Toby has been an active member of her community and spent six years living in Israel with Herb in the 1960s. Herb’s accomplished professional life included working as a chemist, inventor, writer and owner of a successful chemical company.

Pauline Calabrese along with Sue D’amore, two of the Mandel JCC’s certified personal trainers, each spend one afternoon a week leading fitness classes at Lunch Plus. “I enjoy having the Gedulds in class. Herb and Toby take their exercise time seriously, but still have plenty of fun in the process,” Pauline says.

With music from the 60s, 70s and 80s playing in the background, Pauline leads Lunch Plus seniors in a “mini-senior boot camp,” designed to improve balance, flexibility, core strength and endurance. “I keep my eye on every single person during the class and if someone needs to modify an exercise to their individual comfort and strength level, that’s perfectly okay,” says Pauline. “The important thing is to keep moving.”

The Gedulds, who quote Pirkei Avot, “When my strength fails, do not forsake me,” have nothing but praise for the entire Lunch Plus staff , including Yolanda and Pauline.

“There is truly something for everyone at Lunch Plus – but most importantly we are part of a strong community here,” says the Geduld’s. “No one is ever alone when they are part of the Lunch Plus family – and all feel welcome.”

Funding for Lunch Plus comes from the Cuyahoga County Department of Senior and Adult Services, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and the Mandel Jewish Community Center.