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Kensington news:  Poetry, pajama parties, and holiday treats

Here’s the weekly update with information about free activities, resources, programs, and news stories.

(Photo by Khysir Carter)

This week, we’ve got a fresh list of holiday-themed activities and events to fill your calendars with. It’s going to be cold and cloudy for most of this week, though, so make sure you plan accordingly.

We have a couple of announcements, and then we’re on to business as usual with events and resources in the neighborhood. 

Our upcoming programs 

This week and next, we’re hosting a few of our own programs at our newsroom at Allegheny & Amber Street. We’ve been especially busy during the last month with kids at our after-school program. 

(Photo by Jill Bauer-Reese)

Mural Art Mondayz (Youth Voices) 

Mondays from 3:30 to 6:00 PM

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 ( 

Students can drop in for one workshop, a few, or all! But youth participants who attend at least half (5) of the workshops will receive a $75 gift card at the final event in December.

Click here for more info, including registration. 

Creative Writing Corner (Youth Voices) 

Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:00 PM 

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 

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. 

Lastly, this newsletter and our stories are free to read because we believe it’s important to make local news accessible. If you’d like to help support this work, please consider becoming a paid member

Now, here’s what’s happening around the neighborhood this week.


Philly Community Wireless (PCW) is expanding its outreach efforts to homes, businesses, and organizations around the Lillian Marrero Library. If you live within a quarter mile of the library and are interested in hosting a mesh rooftop antenna, contact Read about how PCW is expanding internet access in the Kensington area. 

Six-day service returned at 9 Free Library of Philadelphia branches on November 18. Lillian Marrero Library is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

If you or someone you know is an unemployment compensation claimant with questions about UC benefit payments, visit the new webpage here for more information. 

A new budget will be proposed to City Council this spring. Before the proposal is created, tell the City what you think should be prioritized by attending a feedback session. Space is limited, and attendees will be compensated $40 for their time. Find the feedback session dates here

Activities & Events 

Dec. 5 

McPherson Square Library is hosting two events back-to-back, starting at 4 p.m. and running until the rest of the evening. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., they are having a “Poetry in the Park” open mic night for those interested in sharing their skills with community members. 

From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., they are having their dinner/meeting with community members to chat and enjoy a nice meal together.

Dec. 6

Councilmember Quetcy Lozada is hosting a food and winter supply drive from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Xiente, located at 174 Diamond St. Non-perishables, winter clothes, and other supplies will be collected and distributed to the Salvation Army.

The Scattergood Foundation is hosting evening info sessions for their Overdose Prevention and Community Healing Fund from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Click here to register.

Safe Hub Philadelphia is having a Polar Express Pajama Party at the Scanlon Rec Center, located at 1099 E Venango St, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy hot chocolate with fellow community members and help decorate for Safe Hub’s End of the Year Jawn event. 

Hive 76 is opening its doors for a free miniature paint night every first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. Meet other mini-paint enthusiasts and enjoy their high-resolution 3D printer. Painting airbrushes and supplies will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own supplies. Click here to sign up. 

Dec. 7

Community First Fund is hosting their free Affinity Group Lending info session at p.m. for small business owners to learn more about their funding opportunities.

Dec. 8

Friends of Harrowgate Park have postponed their Christmas Tree Lighting event, which was initially scheduled for Dec 1, due to weather conditions. For those still interested in attending on this new date, it starts at 6 p.m. and will feature tree decorating and Christmas caroling. Light drinks will also be provided.

Heitzman Recreation Center is hosting a Kid’s Bingo Night from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It will cost $2 per player, which includes a pizza and juice. 

Dec. 9

Harrowgate Civic Association is hosting its third annual winter festival at the park from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. It will be a day of games, arts & crafts, and more, plus a Holiday Craft Bazaar featuring handmade seasonal items for folks to shop.


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

Does your business need extra security? Click here to apply for the City’s Business Security Camera Program. If your business is looking for 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.  



Resolve Philly, in partnership with City Bureau, is 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.   

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

Safe-Hub Philadelphia

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

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

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

Esperanza Health Center

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

New Kensington Community Development Community 

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


Harrowgate Civic Association is meeting this Thursday and every first Thursday of the month at 3631 Amber St. 



Ceiba still has open slots 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. 

Philadelphia Department of Public Health

The health department is providing free air purifiers for early childhood centers and K-12 schools. If you’re an educator with an eligible classroom, click here to request a purifier. 


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

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

Sunday Love Project

Sunday Love Project is looking for volunteers at their Greater Goods grocery in Kensington. If you’re interested in acting as a personal shopper, helping pack bulk items, or stocking shelves, email

They are also collecting educational toys for kids ages 0-16 for their holiday event on Dec 2. Check out their Amazon wishlist here.

Have something you’d like us to share in our Monday newsletter? Please send any news or press releases to

Edited by Jill Bauer-Reese