Philadelphia is rich in both its history and its diversity. Best known for its neighborhoods, historical sites, pop-up gardens, events, and food, Philadelphia is a popular East Coast destination. Volunteers live in an apartment in the Chinatown section of the city within walking distance to great restaurants, parks, historical sites, galleries, many outdoor festivals, and even some of our service sites! Volunteers utilize public transportation as it is very accessible in this urban environment.
Housing: apartment (2 floors)
Number of Volunteers: 4
Service Site Descriptions
Catherine’s Cupboard at Gwynedd Mercy University
Mission: To respond to the issue of student food insecurity by providing services to alleviate hunger on campus.
Gwynedd Mercy University (GMercyU) is a Mercy-sponsored university in the northern Philadelphia suburbs. Catherine’s Cupboard, the University food pantry, is a ministry of the Mercy Center for Service, Spirituality and Justice. Catherine’s Cupboard primarily serves students enrolled at Gwynedd Mercy University and their families. Last year approximately 120 students utilized its services; this year it is projected that over 150 students and their families will do so. Students range in age from 18-60 and may be commuters or residents. They may be facing temporary financial setbacks or they may have experienced a lifetime of poverty. A volunteer is needed as a pantry coordinator for Catherine’s Cupboard. The responsibilities include coordinating daily operation of the pantry, assisting students with access to resources and information, raising awareness about food and other basic need’s insecurities, and supporting staff in other areas of the department.
Mercy Neighborhood Ministries
Mission: To respond in the spirit of mercy to the needs of those who are underserved.
The overarching goal of Mercy Neighborhood Ministries is to improve the quality of life for their neighbors by establishing a strong academic and economic foundation for future success and providing a caring, welcoming environment. They provide quality intergenerational programming with an array of services that fall into the areas of Early Education & Youth Development, Adult Education & Workforce Development, and Adult Day Care. A volunteer is needed as an assistant teacher for children ages 3-5 years old who are attending their preschool program at the Mercy Neighborhood Family Center. The volunteer will be planning and coordinating Pre-K activities, assisting the lead teacher with instruction and academic support, and maintaining the safety and order of the activity spaces.
Nationalities Service Center
Mission: To welcome and empower immigrants to thrive in our communities and pursue a just future.
Nationalities Service Center provides comprehensive services to immigrants and refugees, including legal protections, community integration, access to health and wellness services, and opportunities to achieve English language proficiency. NSC serves 5,000 clients from over 100 countries, with many of their programs specifically targeting the most vulnerable immigrants such as refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and survivors of domestic violence. A volunteer is needed to serve as a food access liaison where they will staff and promote the on-site food pantry, receive food deliveries, provide nutrition education to clients, and build partnerships to obtain additional pantry items. Proficiency in Spanish is preferred but not required.
Mission: To provide permanent solutions to homelessness and poverty through housing, education, employment, health care, and the revitalization of a low-income community.
Project H.O.M.E. provides a continuum of services for children, youth and adults who are homeless/chronically homeless. These include street outreach; supportive, transitional, and permanent housing options; community-based supportive employment and education opportunities for youth and adults. Project H.O.M.E. also provides education and advocacy to the larger community on behalf of and in collaboration with homeless and low- income persons for more just and humane public policies. A volunteer is needed as a case aide/outreach worker, providing outreach services to homeless individuals on the street and assessing and providing services to those who come to the office.
Mission: To address the health inequities resulting from systemic racial oppression and economic injustice by converting abandoned and neglected areas in our community into spaces that promote safety, hospitality, nutrition, and growth.
Sanctuary Farm seeks systemic change by helping to improve the overall health of the community, recognizing that healthcare must address the body, mind and spirit and that an individual’s health is intimately connected with the health of one’s nutrition, community and all of creation. They convert abandoned lots into gardens that grow produce which is then distributed free to the community through a twice weekly produce stand and in conjunction with educational opportunities with partnering organizations. They offer on-site programs such as therapeutic gardening and a local summer camp for children. A volunteer is needed to serve as a community program manager, overseeing the development and implementation of all programs, including working with volunteers, planning new programs and recruiting community members.
REFLECTIONS FROM VOLUNTEERS WHO SERVED IN PHILADELPHIA
As I reflect on the encounters that have filled these first few…