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Kensington news: Candlemaking, pop-up shops, neighborhood meetings, & volunteer opportunities

Here’s our Monday morning update with information about free activities, resources, programs, and more.

The Block Gives Back partnered with Safe-Hub Philly to host its End of the Year Jawn on Dec. 16, 2023. (Photo by Khysir Carter)

Happy Monday, neighbors. We had a lot of fun celebrating the holidays this weekend at some of your winter events. 

The Block Gives Back partnered with Safe-Hub Philly to host its End of the Year Jawn on Dec. 16, 2023. (Photo by Khysir Carter)
The Block Gives Back partnered with Safe-Hub Philly to host its End of the Year Jawn on Dec. 16, 2023. (Photo by Khysir Carter)

This newsletter will be our last one of 2023 because we're taking a much-needed winter break to spend time with our families and friends. 

We hope you've enjoyed all the information and updates throughout the year, and we look forward to seeing you all again in January.

In the meantime, here are some announcements, events, and more.

Recent news

We recently published two resource guides, which you should check out: 

We also recommend you read this article, which we republished through our partnership with The Trace, about how Kensington and Philly’s other highest-crime neighborhoods are seeing a significant decline in gun violence.


(Image courtesy of GALAEI)

Limited edition Gloria Casarez T-shirts 

GALAEI is starting a scholarship program in honor of the late Gloria Casarez, a civil rights leader and LGBT activist in Philadelphia. The organization is selling limited edition Gloria Casarez tees to support the fund. You can buy a T-shirt by scanning the barcode here

Port Richmond-Opoly for $25 

Port Richmond Neighborhood Action is selling Port Richmond-Opoly for $25 at the following stores: Anything & Everything (3283 Belgrade St.), Fulton Bank (2646 E Allegheny Ave.), IGA (2497 Aramingo Ave.), Olde Philly Pharmacy (2923 E. Thompson St.), Polka Deli (2719 E Allegheny Ave.), and ShopRite (3745 Aramingo Ave.).  

Operation In My Backyard board recruitment

Operation In My Backyard is expanding its board and is looking for community members to help support the organization's cause. If you have experience with nonprofit management, financial expertise, or legal knowledge about nonprofits, send your resume to

Our upcoming programs 

We are open this week, but will close for a winter break from December 25 through January 1. Our programming will resume on January 2.

Every Monday through Friday, we host youth programming at our newsroom at Allegheny & Amber Street from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

The programs are designed for students in grades six through 12, but those in that age range are welcome to bring their younger siblings, too. 

Last week, we started moving some of the hand-made visual artwork into the graphic design applications we have in the media lab.

Here's one example of a painting-turned-animation that one of our Stetson students made last week. Their name is "Confetti the Ghost" 😍: 


(Art and video by "JO" / Stetson Middle School)

Mural Art Mondayz (Youth Voices) 
Mondays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Students in grades six through 12 are invited to this free workshop series, where they will develop a mural design at Kensington Voice with community artist John C. Zerbe ( 

Click here for more info, including registration. 

Creative Writing Corner (Youth Voices) 
Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. 

Students in grades six through 12 are invited to join our Creative Writing Corner with Khysir Carter, a writing workshop dedicated to building creative writing skills with peers and writing professionals. 

Students can drop in at any time. However, youth participants who work with us to publish their writing in our newspaper, website, or other media will receive a gift card ranging from $75 to $150 for their work. 

Click here for more info, including registration. 

Youth Voices After-School Program
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. 

Kids in grades six through 12 (plus their younger siblings) are invited to stay safe and warm with us after they get out of school. We’ve got arts and crafts, computer games, multimedia equipment, and more. 

Activities & Events 

Dec 18

The East Kensington Neighbors Association is meeting at Philadelphia Brewing Company, located at 244o Frankford Ave., from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They meet every third Monday of the month.

Dec 19

We Can is hosting an advisory meeting at Impact Services, located at 1952 E. Allegheny Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. They meet every third Tuesday of the month. 

Dec 20

The Fishtown Neighbors Association is meeting at Fishtown Recreation Center, located at 1202 E. Montgomery Ave., from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They meet every third Wednesday of the month.

Dec 21

In partnership with AsiSoy Candles, Taller Puertorriqueno is hosting its Winter Solstice Candlemaking event at its Julia De Burgos Bookstore from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The price for entry is $35 for the general public and $10 for Taller members. The entry fee covers the workshop cost and equipment to make one winter-scented candle, access to the hot cocoa bar, a mug to take home, and more. Click here to get your tickets.

Dec 22

Community member Wanda Johnson, founder of Wanda Community Events Inc., is hosting her annual Christmas Toy Giveaway event at Heitzman Recreation Center from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This year’s giveaway is dedicated to her grandson, Roland Darrell White, who was killed in a hit-and-run on December 26 of last year. December 26. The giveaway event will feature guest characters like Optimus Prime and light refreshments.

Dec 23

The Sunday Love Project is hosting a pop-up thrift shop from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 3206 Kensington Ave. Each shopper will receive 20 ‘points’ to shop for clothing, and each piece of clothing will cost one point. If you want to volunteer for the pop-up thrift shop or other programs the org hosts, click here to sign up.

Now until the New Year

Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until New Year’s Eve, Thunderbird Salvage is having its “Christmas in Kensington” pop-up shop. Get your hands on limited holiday decorations, gifts, and items selling as low as $1. Head over to their location at 2856 Frankford Ave.


The Norris Square Senior Center offers free daily activities for adults 60 and older on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities include art, exercise, games, and socializing. Meals are also provided – $1.25 for breakfast and $1 for lunch.  


Galaei has several programs coming up for Philly’s Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community, including a book club, transgender support group, sexual health discussions, and more. Keep up on Galaei’s Instagram

To browse upcoming programs at Kensington, McPherson Square, and Lillian Marrero libraries, visit

Funding Opportunities

Block beautification

As part of the Keep It Clean Philly campaign, the city is offering funding to block captains the PMBC Block Captain Beautification Grant to beautify their block. The grant amount can be as much as $500, and is only available to block captains registered through the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC). Click here to apply.

Business security

Does your business need extra security? Click here to apply for the City’s Business Security Camera Program. If your company wants additional upgrades, check out the Storefront Improvement Program.

Nonprofits can also apply for security enhancements through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.  

Overdose Prevention and Community Healing Fund

The City is seeking applications from community-based organizations (CBOs) for the Overdose Prevention and Community Healing Fund. There are $20,000 and $100,000 grants available. The application will close on Jan. 11, 2024. Click here for more information.  


Division of Substance Use and Harm Reduction

The Division of Substance Use and Harm Reduction has several job openings available, including communications specialist and graphic designer. View listings and apply here


Resolve Philly is still looking to train and hire community members to attend public meetings and take notes to share with the wider community. Pay is $17 per hour per assignment. Learn more here.   

Esperanza Health Center

Esperanza Health Center has several job openings available. View listings and apply here.

Kensington Food Company

Kensington Food Company is hiring a warehouse team member. Tasks would include receiving shipments, packing orders, and delivery. Pay is $18 per hour for 30 hours per week. Apply here

New Kensington Community Development Community 

NKCDC is hiring for several full-time positions. View listings here

Pathways to Housing PA

Pathways to Housing PA is hiring for several positions, including for a truck driver/warehouse assistant at the Philadelphia Furniture Bank at 3650 I St. Find listings and apply here

Safe-Hub Philadelphia

Safe-Hub is hiring soccer coaches. Head coaches are paid $22 per hour while assistant and flex coaches are volunteer positions. Apply here

Taller Puertorriqueño

Taller is looking for a new Development Director. The job calls for expertise in fundraising, strategic planning, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. To apply, send your resume and a cover letter to Nasheli Ortiz at



Ceiba still has openings for its Educational and First Time Home Buyers Individual Development Accounts (IDA) Program. The organization also has Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) applications available for immigrants. For more information, contact Ceiba here.

Department of Health and Human Services

Every U.S. household can now order four COVID-19 rapid tests for free through the U.S. government. Click here to order tests.

Fresh Choice Food Pantry

The Community Center at Visitation’s Fresh Choice Food Pantry is open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Additional offerings include coffee, light snacks, free vital checks, HIV testing, and Hepatitis-C testing. 

Homebound Services

If you’re homebound or a caregiver of a homebound individual, you may be eligible for the Free Library’s Homebound Services. Books and other materials can be delivered to your home and returned for free. To apply for a Homebound Services Library Card, click here.


Applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are now open. Income-eligible families could receive up to $1,000 to pay for heating bills. Apply online or by mail. 


From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday, NKCDC’s Kensington Empowerment Hub is open for their Record Clearing Clinic. Clients can meet with lawyers from the Lawyers for Social Equity organization to have their cases reviewed to see if they can be cleared of any records.

Real Estate Tax Credit Program

The City of Philadelphia Real Estate Tax Credit Program offers eligible homeowners a one-time credit that will be added to a current or future tax bill. To be eligible, you must live in the city, be the owner and resident in your home, and your household income must be at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI). To apply and learn more about the program, click here.

Free Trainings

Mental Health First Aid

The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) offers free training for those interested in earning a Mental Health First Aid certification. The virtual training is facilitated weekly. Register here.

Volunteer Opportunities

Avenues of Change

Avenues of Change is looking for volunteers to assist with its afterschool programming for Kensington students. Volunteers must have a background check, fingerprinting, and child abuse clearances to participate. If interested, contact executive director Matt Nocho by calling 267-826-6740 or emailing

Heart of Kensington Public Sculpture Project

Do you have any spare bike parts you aren’t using? Impact Services, Mural Arts, RideFree, and artist Evan Mendel Dawnson have partnered up to create a sculpture celebrating the positive impacts of the biking culture in Philadelphia. Bike donations will be collected on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at RideFree’s home base, 1952 E. Allegheny Ave., basement level.

Joan of Arc Food Pantry

The Saint Joan of Arc Food Pantry is in need of donations. The food bank operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The site is located at the church on 2025 E. Atlantic St. Call 215-535-4641 to schedule a drop-off. 

Kensington Soccer Club

Kensington Soccer Club is hosting a food drive from now until Nov. 21. Donors can drop off canned and non-perishable food items between Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3400 J St., G4. Contact Brianna Banks at 267-972-9077 for more information. 

Philly Community Wireless

Philly Community Wireless needs tech and outreach volunteers. Learn more here

Savage Sisters

Savage Sisters, an organization that serves people recovering from substance use disorders, has an outreach program where they directly serve folks with resources and food. On Tuesdays, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., they hand out warm food and harm reduction kits, and they also do a clean up around the area afterward. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Liddy at or 215-954-6199. 

Small Things

Small Things, a local food bank, opened a “free grocery store” style food pantry at 3510 A St. in Fairhill. Operating hours are Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is looking for volunteers

St. Francis Inn Ministries

St. Francis is looking for people interested in helping out with their Adopt a Family program. You can either adopt a family to buy and donate gifts for or volunteer your time to help St. Francis staff shop for gift items. Contact to learn how you can volunteer or adopt a family to shop for this holiday season.

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