PIHN’s 2020 Back to School Event

A Year of New Beginnings!

PIHN’s 2020 Back to School Night


Returning to school in 2020 presents a new set of challenges for students of all ages. PIHN children, teens, and college kids are prepped for the many new adjustments caused by COVID-19, and getting off to an awesome start for the new school year after PIHN’s Back to School gathering held in our Northwest office the last week of August.

Students received travel-sized sanitation kits and assorted face masks, in addition to the uniform gift cards and book bags stuffed with school supplies for the school year ahead. Thank you so much to Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, and Flourtown Presbyterian Church for providing the huge assortment of unique book bags for our PIHN scholars.

Back to School Collage
We’d also like to add a special shout-out to Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia for the generous school donations they’ve made to our program and thousands of other children around the city. With the support of our awesome community, PIHN has received over 250 book bags filled with supplies for our children this year!

“Smoothies for Shelter” at Planet Smoothie in Horsham!

Horsham’s Planet Smoothie Presents:

“Smoothies for Shelter!”


Planet Smoothie Horsham’s Sherrell Oliver-Riley, introduced a new initiative that offers smoothies to prevent homelessness by assisting students facing housing insecurity in the Philadelphia School District. For $35 per person, smoothie lovers can enjoy their choice of one smoothie (any size!!) for each week through the end of September. Half of the proceeds from every participant will then be donated to PIHN’s Homelessness Prevention Program!

I’m excited to provide our customers with smoothies during the hottest time of the year, while assisting local families in need of rental assisance,” said Oliver-Riley. “Not only will our customers be saving a few bucks, but they’ll be helping us raise much needed funds to help prevent homelessness in the region.”

Planet Smoothie is located at 575 Horsham Rd. (Suite B-19) in the Horsham Corner Shopping Center. If you are interested in participating, simply request a Summer Pass when you order your next frozen treat, or via phone: (215) 394-5217.

The Planet Smoothie franchise began in 1995 in Atlanta, Georgia and has more than 130 locations across the country. Learn more about them by visiting www.planetsmoothie.com.


Dear Friends of PIHN,

Many of our volunteers and supporters have reached out during this time of Coronavirus to ask how Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network is managing. Here is our update on services that will be continued, and others that will be discontinued:

Since so many of the families we serve are employed in service industries, we expect that they will be working fewer hours, making less income, and are likely to have even more material needs. As such, PIHN staff will be working to keep material supports available such as food, diapers, clothing, and personal items for families in need. Staff have divided into three teams who will work on alternate days, keeping our services going as long as possible. If one team needs to be isolated, another team can step in.

The PIHN Northwest Family Center will be open on Thursdays from 1PM -3PM, and Saturdays from 11:30AM – 1:30PM for food and diapers by appointment. Please call (215) 247-4663 ext. 8 to schedule.

  • We ask that families on come to the PIHN office on these days, and enter through the rear to pick up their items.
  • Visitors will not be welcome to come in and utilize computers or the family center to keep it sanitized for staff to be there safely, and assist people with getting basic needs.
  • All calls and requests for rental assistance will be handled by phone, with staff working remotely and checking messages on a regular basis.
  • All in-person tax appointments will be postponed for the next two weeks.
  • PIHN staff will be unavailable to pick up or deliver any furniture donations until further notice.

Our Northeast office is temporarily closed. If you wish to donate any food, supermarket gift cards, or personal items, please bring them to our center at 7047 Germantown Ave. during open hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. We will keep you posted on our wish list.

We have also made special plans for the families in our shelter program to stay safe. They will be treated as family, and can remain in their church without volunteers. A handful of dedicated interns and staff will be assigned to check in on them and not to interact with other aspects of our operation. Many thanks to Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Mt. Airy for accommodating our families at the present time, and to Second Baptist Church in Germantown should the crisis continue. If your congregation is hosting or co-hosting, your coodinator will advise you of our arrangements for volunteers. Our Northwest and Northeast families are now together.

We have implemented increased, regular sanitizing procedures to keep everyone safe. Remember to wash hands frequently and avoid public gatherings as much as possible. Stay home if you are sick and be sure your children know how important hand washing is.

With every wish for calm, safety, and good health,

Rachel SIgnature


Rachel Heart



Rachel Falkove
Executive Director

A Shared Community Initiative – PIHN’s New Partnership with HTN!

HTN Banner 2

We are super excited to announce St. Alphonsus Parish Ministry’s HTN Program, and Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s partnership with a shared initiative to provide assistance to the most impoverished neighbors in our community. Combined, PIHN and HTN have served 700(+) vulnerable families (over 1,500 children and adults) in the Philadelphia and Montgomery County!

Our new partnership with HTN has granted us access to surplus, large ticket items to distribute to families who rely on our programs. This includes recently purchased, unwanted mattresses, dresser sets, bed frames, couches, and so much more, supplied by over 800 generous donor companies! Many of these returned household essentials come from distributors who are unable to resell at market rate after they have been opened or used on a trial basis.

These donation will play a phenomenal role in supporting PIHN’s operations to ensure we continue making a difference for families in crisis before relying on the shelter system. Thanks to HTN, we can give overstocked and returned products a second life, and help budget stretched households live comfortably and focus on paying their rent and utilities!

HTN Image cut

PIHN is a FREE Tax Filing Site!!

PIHN is a Campaign for Working Families, and free Tax Filing Site. As a service to our community, we are filing Federal and State Income Tax Returns for households with an income less than $69,000 beginning next week. Please share this message, with the info below containing a checklist of paperwork that will be needed prior to meeting.

 To set your appointments, please contact Christian Gordon-Scott at (215) 247-4663 (ext. 102)
or email taxes@philashelter.org.

Taxform 1

Taxform 2

Breaking Barriers and Strengthening Community! – 2020 MLK Day of Service

Collage 2(2020 MLK Day of Service volunteers!)

Monday, January 20th marked Greater Philadelphia’s 25th anniversary hosting a day of service that celebrates the life and legacy of Civil Rights Activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr! Beginning in 1996, this day has served as a nationwide movement to break down barriers, form lasting partnerships between local community programs, and cultivate a deep understanding of Dr. King’s Mission by bringing together hundreds of local volunteers.

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network reaped many benefits with assistance from the 75(+) awesome volunteers who spent the day participating in our annual Houses for Change project, crafting bowls for this year’s Empty Bowl Dinner, and helping us clean and organize our family day center for the children who come and go everyday! Many thanks to Unitarian Society of Germantown for hosting and featuring us in their Day of Service event, and all of our friends who joined us to volunteer from:

  • Bryn Mawr Trust
  • Chestnut Hill College
  • Friends Select School
  • Merion Mercy Academy Alumni Association, and
  • Unitarian Society of Germantown


In the midst of the many projects PIHN was hosting , we were grateful to receive two very special donations from our amazingly supportive community. Special thanks to Merion Mercy Academy for their huge donation of “Birthday Care Packages” to help our families celebrate that special time of year. Finally, special thanks to Delaware Valley Friends School, for their donation of assorted comforters and bed sets that will go very quickly during this chilly season.

Our community far and wide is really the pride of PIHN! ❤️


Thank You for a Remarkable 2019!

Year-End PIHN Photo

(PIHN achievements in 2019)

Thanks to our generous supporters, PIHN has had quite a busy year in 2019. During this time, we have sheltered and moved 18 families to stability, and mentored a growing cohort of 180 alumni families who utilize our supportive services on a regular basis. We have also opened our doors and provided material supports to 276 community families, and assisted 100 families in avoiding homelessness by preventing eviction, providing back-rents, and helping with housing deposits!

PIHN ends this year poised to make a bigger difference in preventing homelessness during 2020. With grants from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), the Home 4 Good Program (project of the PA Housing Finance Angency, the Help Us Move In Foundation (HUMI), The Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services, and GIANT Food Stores, we intend to double our prevention efforts in the year ahead.

There is still time to help Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network during 2019! Every individual contribution, large or small, makes a difference. Please refer to our year-end Appeal letter for details on PIHN’s achievements reached this year.

Help us change lives in 2020 with any generous
year-end gift you can make!


2019 Annual Appeal-2

2019 Annual Appeal-1

Thank you PIHN Secret Santas!

Penn Charter 2019-min(Penn-Charter and their gift donations)

Santa and his helpers have been hard at work this season making drop-offs around the city for PIHN’s Secret Santa Program. The generosity shown through organizations and congregations including:

  • Delaware Children’s Charity
  • Penn-Charter
  • Mt. Airy Playground
  • KWG
  • New Leaders Council, Philadelphia
  • Friends Quaker Meeting House
  • Grace Presbyterian Church

have allowed us to provide Christmas matches to 275 children plus their parents in Philadelphia! Thanks especially to the number of individuals who also participated in providing gifts. It truly takes a village, and ours is awesome!

Celebrating PIHN’s 21st Annual Empty Bowl Dinner

To PIHN’s Amazing Community…

Thanks for Our Most Successful Empty Bowl Dinner


Last Wednesday, Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN)’s 21st Annual Empty Bowl Dinner was nothing short of spectacular! Hundreds of bowls donated from over 30 different potters, clay programs and schools, as well as soups, cakes, and breads donated from 57 local restaurants, bakeries, and home bakers, made the dinner a visual and gastronomical feast! Special thanks to United Lutheran Seminary for hosting and to Mike McGrath of WLVT/PBS39′s “You Bet Your Garden” for dishing out some great energy and humor for the evening.

Congratulations to Tanisha Carter for receiving the beautiful 2015 Chrysler 200 generously donated by Geico and refurbished by Service King through the Recycled Rides program from the National Auto Body Council. Our fabulous Corporate Sponsors and Advertisers helped make the event a huge success and enabled PIHN’s alumni families to join in the fun!

Tanisha Geico
The 2019 Empty Bowl
Dinner was made possible thanks to:

The Empty Bowl Dinner Committee,
(Headed by Cynthia Lalone, with Cristin Lalone, Valerie Erwin, Beryl Evans, Bill Fox, Lynn Grahame, LaVerne M. Jones, Della Lazarus, Mark McGuigan, Donna Price, and Shirlyn Swann)

Our dedicated Staff, (Bob Byrne, Christian Gordon-Scott, Ben Domsgen, Deborah Kish-Silver, Linnea Luzzo, Keyonnee Thalia, Pesha Leichter, and Rachel Fakove)

…And our 100(+) Volunteers and Interns who everything from soup schlepping, serving, greeting, and SO much more! Huge shout-out to GIANT Food Stores and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors who brought a team of volunteers with them to help support the event.

Arcadia EBD 2019

Additionally, HUGE thank you to Arcadia University for hosting it’s very own Empty Bowl Dinner on PIHN’s behalf held November 11th. Your continuous support of PIHN’s programs have come such a long way!

Our deepest thanks
is to PIHN’s awesome community!

In the end, our dinner raised awareness and $40,000
in support of PIHN’s programs to prevent and alleviate family homelessness! It really takes a village, and ours is one of a kind.

With gratitude to each and every one of you,
Happy Thanksgiving!

A Sesame Street Tale Addressing Childhood Homelessness

sesame blog

Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC), a program of Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit that produces Sesame Street, joined Family promise, our national organization, at our 2019 National Conference. Before launching a suite of online resources for providers serving children without stable housing, SSIC consulted Family Promise the leading nonprofit addressing family homelessness as one of their expert advisers. Together they created a mupper child experiencing homelessness and made her feel much more hopeful about her family’s situation.

“We Got This!” is a children’s book, and valuable resource that our Network has to share with our children and parents experiencing homelessness. We will also share the books with other partner agencies. Many thanks to Sesame Street and it’s nearly 5-year commitment to addressing children’s developmental, physical, and emotional needs!

Click Here to Read More Details!