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Kensington news: Sips & Zips, holiday parties, toy giveaways, and skating with Santa

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

Christmas decorations displayed on Amber Street between Willard and Westmoreland Streets on Dec. 11, 2023. (Photo by Jill Bauer-Reese)

Good morning, neighbors!

We hope you have a lot of free time on your hands this week because tons of free, fun events are coming up.

Take advantage of as many events as possible to get treats, resources, and joy this holiday season before the New Year.

Our upcoming programs 

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. 

Take a look at some of the artwork two of our Stetson students made last week 😍: 

Art by “J” / Age 12 / John B. Stetson Middle School 
Art by “S” / Age 12 / John B. 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 ( 

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 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 12

The Kensington Neighborhood Library is hosting PGW’s Energy Conservation Workshop, presented by the Energy Coordinating Agency, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Folks can visit the library for this workshop and learn about different energy assistance programs that may be available to them and how to conserve energy in the home. PGW consumers who attend this workshop can also receive a free weatherization kit. You can register for the workshop here.

Dec 13

Come and join community groups Jefferson’s Collaborative on Health Equity, The Reawakening Agency, and Allin for their Sips & Zips event for the release of their short film, “Deeply Rooted”. In line with the groups’ collective work in holding space for conversations on mass incarceration, community health, and healing, the film opens the discussion of the experiences of those newly released from prison. The event is from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include food and opportunities to meet the folks involved. Click here to sign up.

Dec 15

By Faith Healing And Healing Inc. is hosting a toy giveaway at the Community Center at Visitation from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. for their closing celebration for Christmas. Children must be present to receive a toy. For more information, contact Brenda Mosley at (215) 397-0431 or by email.

Philly HEALs and Operation In My Backyard are inviting folks to their Holiday Gathering at West Kensington Ministry from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The gathering is a potluck, so feel free to bring food, dessert, or nothing at all. There will also be cookie decorating, art activities, grief support, and harm reduction resources. Click here to sign up.

Dec 16

Did you just buy your first home, or are you looking to purchase a home for the first time? NKCDC is hosting another First-Time Homebuyer Workshop. These virtual workshops are from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and offer first-time homeowners pre and post-purchase information and help with qualifying for most down payment assistance programs. To sign up and learn more, click here.

Join Heitzman Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for their Pancakes & Pajamas event. The entry costs $5 per child and $2 per adult, which will also come with breakfast, a gift, and a photo with Santa for the children. Call 215-537-3244 to register.

The Block Gives Back, in partnership with Safe Hub Philadelphia and Scanlon Rec Center, is hosting its eighth annual End of the Year Jawn at the Maken North Building at 3525 I Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The partnered organizations will give out toys, winter essentials, financial resources, and more during the event. Folks can also skate with Santa at Scanlon Rec Center’s ice skating rink.

McPherson Square Library is having a Winter Festival in their space from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. for community members to have food, drinks, and a fun time with Santa. There will also be hot cocoa and cookie decorating stations. Make sure to bring your own camera or phone to get pictures with Santa.

Xiente invites you to their first holiday festival, “Se XIENTE La Fiesta,” located in Norris Square Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The celebration will feature live performances from bands and musicians like Swing de Guille and DJ Kade, arts & crafts, and contests for folks to participate in. For any questions, call (215) 426-8734 or email at

Dec 17

Port Richmond on Patrol and Civic (PROPAC) is hosting Lunch with Santa at the Columbia Social Club, located at 3521 Almond Street, for families with children ten years old and younger. Space is limited, so only two adults per child will be allowed. Call Anne Paul at (215) 380-9782 to register.

Shadow Trax Nation & Precious Babies Learning Academy are hosting a Winter Wonderland Palooza from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 2601 N 11th Street. Participants will enjoy dinner, performances, and giveaways, all for free. To sign up, email them here.

Hive76 has two fun activities to participate in at their space from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Stop by for their Open House hours to check out the woodshop, laser pointer, and more equipment. You can register for that here. This Sunday, and every third Sunday of the month, they also host a Boardgame Day. Click here to sign up and take part.

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

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.  



In partnership with City Bureau, Resolve Philly 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

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

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



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. 


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.

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. 

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

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

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Edited by Jill Bauer-Reese