How is Philly helping the homeless during quarantine?
If you haven’t been on social media you have probably missed the posts I have been sharing about community partnerships and volunteer opportunities to help out those who are still residing on the street or who don’t have reliable access to food. Below is a list and some links to how our City is responding to the housing and food crisis.
- Old First Reformed UCC has expanded the winter men’s overnight shelter into a full-time shelter with a capacity for 30 men and 5 women. The church is utilizing their social hall and two smaller rooms to house everyone safely. Meals are provided through food donations from our shelter partner, Bethesda Project, and through Philabundance and community members. Volunteers can contribute by ordering men’s boxers (M, L, XL) and razors and having them shipped directly to Old First. Additionally, you can support the meal program by ordering in a catered meal. Taneisha Sanders is the point of contact at Bethesda to schedule a meal drop off. She can be reached at email@example.com. Financial contributions to help Old First cover the added costs of showers, laundry, cleaning supplies, and added electricity can be sent in the form of check made out to Old First with shelter in the memo line.
- Step up to the Plate (#stepuptotheplate) is a collaboration between Philabundance, City of Philadelphia, Broad Street Ministry, Prevention Point Philadelphia, and Project H.O.M.E. This collaboration has brought meals to City Hall to be served Monday-Friday 11:30-2pm. The second food distribution site is in Kensington at East Clearfield and Ruth Street. Catering companies are supplying approximately a thousand meals a day to meet the need. Staff are being utilized to serve the meals; no community volunteers are needed at this time. https://philanthropynetwork.org/sites/default/files/Step%20Up%20To%20The%20Plate%20One%20Sheet.pdf
- Chosen 300 is a community partner Old First utilizes for service camps and our former colleague Alesha works there currently. Chosen 300 has continued to serve hundreds of meals a week to those in Center City, West Philly, and even in Africa! This organization serves on Sundays at Love Park and dinners at their location on Spring Garden during the week. Chosen 300 continues to utilize healthy volunteers utilizing safety precautions and social distancing measures. http://www.chosen300.org/
- Friends in Kensington are still providing needed services. Blessed Sarnelli House, St. Francis Inn, and Prevention Point Philadelphia provide meals, safe needle exchange, and other needed items to those in their community. Meals continue to be grab-n-go to reduce physical contact. http://stfrancisinn.org/ https://ppponline.org/ https://www.bscphilly.org/
- Philabundance and SHARE Food Program are the largest food provider in our region. Both organizations are delivering thousands of pounds of food each week to food pantries, the city food distribution sites, and schools providing meals to students. Both organizations still utilize community volunteers using social distancing measures. Financial contributions have the biggest impact right now. https://www.philabundance.org/ https://sharefoodprogram.org/
- Caring for Friends (Formerly Aid for Friends) provides meals to shut-ins throughout Philadelphia County and the suburban counties. Hot and packaged meals are delivered to seniors and those who are homebound. MANNA also delivers a weeks’ worth of meals on Monday so that individuals with compromised immune systems do not have to leave their homes. Both of these organizations continue to utilize volunteers who are healthy and observe social distancing measures. https://caringforfriends.org/ https://mannapa.org/
- Face to Face Germantown is stepping up to provide a variety of services in that community. Their legal center continues to take calls about any legal questions including inquiries about stimulus checks, housing, or unemployment. Face to Face is working with Step Up to the Plate PHL and has received catered meals to provide to their community members. Chef Jose Garces has committed to bring fresh meals to them every Monday for the next six weeks! https://facetofacegermantown.org/
- Old Pine Community Center is providing meals five days a week to ANYONE who needs it. They have to-go bags of breakfast and lunch. On Senior Saturdays, seniors can receive a box of food with some staple items. On Sunday morning, traditionally a time when a hot breakfast was available to anyone who needed it, a to-go breakfast is available. Old Pine is also providing family boxes with shelf-stable food and household items as well as boxes for parents with infants who need formula and diapers. Old Pine is accepting donations of diapers, adult diapers, household cleaning items, toiletries for families, as well as any shelf stable food. They have a “safe drop off” box outside their location at 4th and Lombard where you can leave items.
- For folks who are curious about all of the philanthropic projects that are active right now, you can get information here: https://philanthropynetwork.org/covid-19-philanthropic-response-funds-greater-philadelphia
- Looking for ways to volunteer from the comfort of your own home? You can find opportunities here: https://www.allforgood.org/ and volunteermatch.org
Old First remains unable to receive in person volunteers or donations of clothing at this time. Please stay tuned for further updates as they become available. Thank you for your continued support of our Ministries and those we serve.
Billi C Voluntee@oldfirstucc.org
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