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

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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

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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!

 

 

PIHN’s 5k was a huge SUCCESS!

Thank you for Making PIHN’s

“There’s No Place Like Home” 5k Amazing!

2019 5k Collage

- PIHN’s 2019 No Place Like Home 5k -

We are so happy to announce that PIHN’s community of “There’s No Place Like Home” runners, walkers, and donors raised nearly $21,000 to fund PIHN’s growing homelessness prevention efforts this year!

Special shout-out to Cheryl’s Champs for raising over $1,000, the Our Mother of Consolation Golden Knights for raising over $1,800, The Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness for raising over $3,000, and Germantown Jewish Centre for raising over $5,000! We are so grateful for all of the amazing teams and individuals who ran through Oz on PIHN’s behalf. Thank you so much for all of your very generous donations!

Shout-out to the number of individuals who
represented PIHN on the winner’s podium this year!


Women’s Division:

Congratulations to…
Sabrina Borzi who placed THIRD in the 13-19 Age Division!
Andrea Horos who placed THIRD in the 40-49 Age Division!
Emily Kallmeyer who placed SECOND in the 13-19 Age Division!
Eve Laurito who placed FIRST int he 4-12 Age Division!
Jane Hohenleitner for placed FIRST in the 13-19 Age Division!
Melissa Paquette who placed FIRST in the 50-59 Age Division!

Men’s Division:

Congratulations to…
Pj Horos who placed THIRD in the 4-12 Age Division!
Dave Flanigan who placed THIRD in the 40-49 Age Division!
Joel Schneier who placed THIRD in the 50-59 Age Division!
Bruno Fleischman-Mayro who placed SECOND in the 13-19 Age Division!
Bob Byrne who placed FIRST in the 30-39 Age Division!
Joe Willard who placed FIRST in the 60-69 Age Division!

For a full list of the results, Click Here
and look yourself up in Generocity’s gallery of Finisher Photos.

2019 Giant 5k Team Blast-min- Giant Food Stores Team -

Finally, a GIANT shout-out to Giant Food Stores for organizing 13 teams, representing each regional store who raiseed roughly $3,000! Let’s thanks our Giant Supermarkets for their support, a great selection of food and their GIANT hearts!

 

Thank you for making our 5k a SUCCESS!

2019 5k Collage
We are so happy to announce that PIHN’s community of “There’s No Place Like Home” runners, walkers, and donors raised nearly $21,000 to fund PIHN’s growing homelessness prevention efforts this year!
Special shout-out to Chery’s Champs for raising over $1,000, the OMC Golden Knights for raising over $1,800, The Philadelphia Commitee to End Homelessness for raising over $3,000, and Germantown jewish Centre for raising over $5,000! We are so grateful for all of the amazing teams and individuals who ran through Oz on PIHN’s behalf. Thank you so much for all of your very generous donations!

 Shout-outs to the number of individuals who
represented PIHN on the winner’s podium this year!

 

Tickets for Kids provides a trip to the Phillies!

phillies crop

We’d like to give a shout-out to Tickets for Kids Charities and their donation of tickets for two of our families to attend the Philadelphia Phillies game about two weeks ago at Citizens Bank Park. We’ve heard wonderful things from those who attended!

In the past 12 months, Tickets for Kids has provided over 200,000 tickets to charities across the U.S. Thank you so much for supporting our families and children everywhere!

Thanks for Making Back to School a HUGE Success!!

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PIHN children, teens and college kids are looking great and getting off to an awesome start for the new school year. Students received uniform gift cards and bookbags stuffed with school supplies for the upcoming school year at three PIHN Back to School gatherings held in our Northwest office last week.

SUPER Big thanks to:

Back to School CollageFinally, a special thanks to Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia for providing their efforts in making sure that the big kids and thousands of other Philly children, had all they needed too. Together, you have provided us with over 250 bookbags for our children this school year!

Blanket Donation from Sheraton Suites!

Blankets
We’ve just received a large shipment of brand new bedsheets! PIHN would like to share a super warm thank you to Sheraton Suites, Philadelphia who so generously donated over 20 HUGE trash bags stuffed with brand new, clean blankets for the families we serve!

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford shelter that is suitable during the Winter months and exposure-related conditions can be unavoidable. Thank you so much for helping us warm up those who are vulnerable in our community.

Join PIHN’s Board of Directors – Put Your Social Justice Committment to Work!

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If you are passionate about your community and have ever wondered how you can contribute to PIHN’s fight against family homelessness, here is your chance! We are actively looking for community members to apply and serve on our Board of Directors. Board members are the hidden engine of PIHN that allow our programs to function by supporting our staff in programming, fundraising, finance, and strategic planning.

If you have a background in:

  • Accounting
  • Law (Family or Housing)
  • Finance
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • (or) Property Management

We are particularly looking for you! However, this is room for any interested community member who is willing to serve.

We seek members who share our values and reflect the diversity of our congregations and constituencies to help further PIHN’s mission. If this is you, please email LaVerne M. Jones at lavernemjones@gmail.com or call Rachel Falkove at (215) 247-4663 ext. 136

Ways to Support PIHN’s “No Place Like Home” 5k!

How You Can Support PIHN’s

“There’s No Place Like Home” 5k

Click Here for Registration

Big5kthingJoin PIHN!

Sunday, October 6th 2019
At The Please Touch Museum (Fairmount Park)
Remember to wear your Oz costumes for a special prize!

picnic borderHow Can I Support
“There’s No Place Like Home”


1.
You can Join as an Individual or as a Team

Visit www.pihn5k.greatfeats.com to receive your own fundraising page upon registration for $25. This is a fundraising effort, and we ask that all registrants try their best to raise a minimum of $200 to support PIHN’s Homelessness Prevention program. Every $500 raised prevents an eviction!

All 5k participants will receive a t-shirt upon registration and a finishing medal upon completion. If you wish to compete without the commitment of fundraising, please contact Bob Byrne at (215) 247-4663 ext. 137 or bob@philashelter.org to discuss options.

2. You can Donate!

Make a donation. Gifts large and small will be used to support PIHN’s Homelessness Prevention program, which offers targeted financial assistance and support, stops eviction and helps families stay housed.

If you desire, any donation of $1,000 or more can be used as match money to help motivate other runners. Please contact Rachel Falkove at (215) 247-4663 ext. 136 or rachel@philashelter.org

3. You can Share!

However you decide to participate, let your friends and family know about this event through conversation and by sharing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

4. Remember to Grab your RUBY SNEAKERS!

“There’s No Place Like Home” 5k is open to all ages and athletic abilities. Come out on October 6th (in your best Oz costume) and join our 5k team. Whether you’re a walker, runner, or roller, we invite our community of all ages to join us for this exciting and fun event

For information on the course or questions about the race,
please contact our office at (215) 247-4663

Click Here for Registration

Thank You Jannie Blackwell – $800,000 for homeless family prevention

Blackwell Collage

Thanks to City Councilperson, Jannie Blackwell, families who experience
homelessness will have more options toward resolving housing insecurity.

After meeting with members of the Family Service Provider Network (Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, HELP USA, Darlene Morris, and PEC) the Councilperson pledged to find new resources for families.  She convinced City Council the following week to add the $800,000 for prevention services, each year for the next 5 years.

The funding will be used for:
  • Flexible financial assistance
  • Short-term rental assistance
  • Back rent
  • Security Deposits/1st/Last month’s rent
  • Utility Assistance, moving costs, transportation, furniture
  • Housing Stabilization/Case Management
  • Mediation
  • Access to mainstream services

The Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services, which will manage the new funds, had only been able to provide such assistance to 28 percent of those who sought to help.

Interfaith Service Project for Ismaili Muslim Youth

Ismaili Students Clean Prince of Peace

The Interfaith Service Project is a College Program on Islam including a one-week road trip that engages 25 ShiÔÇÖa, Ismaili Muslims between the ages of 18-25, who come from across the country. The program aims to experimentally teach students more about their faith, heritage, culture, and identity, as well as how they fit among other faith communities. As a part of this experience, students learn more about living their faith through service to other faith communities.┬á Together, these students painted 3 rooms at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Lawncrest, cleaned the Social Hall and also cleaned the grounds around the church.

According to Helen Tobin, a member of Church Council, ÔÇ£These students were so remarkable. It was truly amazing to see all that got done in just 3 hours of work! ÔÇ£

 Ismaili Students Clean Prince of Peace2

When the students finished their projects, the students and church members went outside to take photos and celebrate their work.┬á They shared songs about love and peace in Arabic, Hebrew and English, and ended with ÔÇ£Let There Be Peace on EarthÔÇØ. Helen summed up the day saying ÔÇ£This is the way we should live. …WouldnÔÇÖt it be wonderful?ÔÇØ

Delivery from HUD’s Homeless to Housed Drive

this HUD- PIHN receives Homeless to Housed Donations
from Regional Offices of Federal Agencies -
..
Many thanks to staff from Regional Offices of 6 Federal Agencies for selecting PIHN to receive donations from the Homeless to Housed Campaign, collecting an array of household goods to help launch families moving from shelter to homes. Staff from six federal agencies filled a truckload of NEW household items including pots, pans, electronics, cleaning supplies, and so many items that families need to establish a household. In-kind donations such as these are a large part of the reason why so many PIHN families succeed in never requiring a repeat stay in an emergency shelter!
..
A BIG THANKS to the employees at these Regional Federal Offices:
  • Department of Navy, Philadelphia Operations Center
  • Federal Executive Board (CFC)
  • Housing and Urban Development – Region 3
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Security Exchange Commission
  • Veteran’s Administration
  • Federally Employed Women, Philadelphia

PIHN’s New Vehicle Donation!!

We’ve Got a New Car!

Super Huge Thanks to Stephanie and Gary

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Thank you to Stephanie Miller and Gary Brooks for recently donating their 2007 Dodge Nitro to PIHN. It’s bright red, very peppy and super dependable. When asked why they are donating their car, Stephanie remarked:

“Our old car would have much more value for a non-profit than what we would receive for it in resale. PIHN is such a good organization and does so many great things to help people. We were confident that you would put the car to good use, or could give it to a family in critical need of one.”

A car really does make a big difference! If you have an old car with a little life left in it and would like to share it with a family in need, please contact Bob Byrne, Director of Operations, at bob@philashelter.org or at (215) 247-4663 ext. 137. PIHN will handle matching the car with a family in need and handle all tax paperwork.

 

 

 

A PIHN Call to Action – Help Us Pass the HCYA Bill!

A PIHN Call to Action!

Please Ask your Congressional Representative to
Support the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA)

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Dear Friends of Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network:
As you may have heard, on April 1st, 2019, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HR 2001, HCYA) was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Stivers (R-OH-15) and Congressman Loebsack (D-IA-2).

Attached to this email is a letter we hope you will send to your representative asking for his/her support of HR 2001, HCYA. As with the last congressional session, the Government Relations Committee of Family Promise, PIHNÔÇÖs national organization, was able to provide input along with other national partners to assist in the revision of this bill, providing comments on it in draft form. https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

HR 2001,HCYA would mandate that HUD expand eligibility for homeless programming to include children and families that are experiencing homelessness under the definition provided by the Department of Education. It would also prohibit HUD from prioritizing homeless sub-populations, allowing Continuums of Care to award funding for programming according to the local needs assessment rather than national priorities. Finally, this legislation would revise the definition of chronically homeless familiesÔÇöcurrently the head of household must have a disability to qualify. Under HCYA, anyone in the household could have the disability for the family to qualify. This could potentially open the door to additional resources for the children and the families that we serve.

PIHN is an affiliate of Family Promise representing 242 networks around the country, and has endorsed and advocated for the HCYA under the last Congress. It was bipartisan and bicameral, and passed through the House Financial Services Committee on a bipartisan vote. Having personally experienced homelessness with her family, Kat Lilley (ED of Family Promise in Colorado Springs, National Board Member, and Guest Advisory Council Member) testified to the committee on the need for HCYA. (Click here to watch Kat’s testimony) Unfortunately, the clock ran out on the bill and it was not voted on prior to the end of the congressional session. So, the bill has had to be reintroduced for the new congress.

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Will you take a few moments of your time to download this support letter, add your personal message, and email it to your Congressional Representative? It will be more impactful to hear from you than from lobbyists.

For more information:

How Can You Help?

  • Reach out to your Congressional Representatives, asking them to consider cosponsoring the bill. Attached to this email is a sample letter you can print/copy, edit, and use. If possible, insert local data and statistics in support of the legislation.

Note: Please open the attached sample letter, complete highlighted portions and email it to your Congressional Representative.

 

General Advocacy Tips and Info…

Thank you for ALL that you do!

Rachel Falkove
Executive Director

A Look Back on our 2019 Empty Plate Dinner…

A GIANT Thank You
to Our Community of Support!

Empty Plate Blog

This past Saturday, PIHN hosted one of our most remarkable Empty Plate dinners ever thanks to our supportive community throughout the city! A truly extraordinary evening of reaching milestones and paving the way toward a future where every child has a place to call home.

GIANT shoutout to our sponsors, the 70(+) restaurants who donated the delicious food, Platemakers, Open Hearts on Tour for our first year of LIVE music, the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia for honoring us as a “Zone of Peace”, our large support net of volunteers, and finally to our lead dinner sponsor Giant Food Stores for their amazingly generous 3-year grant award announcement of $81,000 to expand our services in Northeast Philadelphia and for helping our dinner run smoothly.

THANK YOU for all of your tremendous support, we could not have done it alone.

Photos of the evening coming soon…ÔÇìÔÇìÔÇì

 

Families Count – Shining a Light on Family Homelessness

Families Count!

Let’s Make Sure that ALL
Experiencing Homelessness are Counted

2019-01-23-e-lee-bruce-thomas-philadelphia-city-hall-homeless-families-under-count-768x512(PIHN Executive Director, Rachel Falkove & PIHN Family, Bruce Thomas)

Last Wednesday night, an army of volunteers fanned out across the greater Philadelphia area to count the number of people sleeping on the street combined with those sleeping in shelter. The Annual Point-in Time Count (PIT) is required by the Department of housing and Urban Development to measure how municipalities across the country are doing in the national goal to eliminate homelessness and determine funding for services needed for the year ahead.

Family advocates note that the PIT frequently overlooks families, who are a hidden part of the homeless population. If families cannot find room in a shelter or don not want to be divided up, they will hide their homelessness, staying in cars, hotels, substandard properties, sleeping on couches, and living doubled up in other crowded, tense, living situations. They will rarely stay on the street because if they do, they may lose their children to the child welfare system.

fspn press conference on count-2019-01-23 (22)(FSPN coalition appeals to City Officials)

PIHN, along with a coalition of 20+ agencies of the Family Service Provider Network (FSPN), participated in a “Families Count – Uncovering Family Homelessness” Press Conference hosted by City Council members Domb and Gym, and joined by Council members Blackwell and Greenlee. This conference was held to reauest city departments to commit to collecting more accurate data to represent themany hidden families and children who interface with their departments, but are not in shelter or visible for the PIT Count.

PIHN alumni, Bruce Thomas, spoke on behalf of the many uncounted families and told of his family’s 10+ year-long journey living with families and friends, without services, supports or a housing plan. Only upon making the decision to come into shelter did things finally begin to come into place for them. After a year in our congregational shelter, Bruce’s family moved into PIHN’s Church Lane House that was so beautifully renovated last sumer thanks to many generous supporters. He, Jen, and the children recently received PHA housing and we are making plans to move in another family in to the house shortly. We would all like to thank Bruce for sharing his family’s story with City Council members and the press.

It’s the people that you don’t see, who need help also.
They didn’t know about me and my family for 10 years.” – Bruce Thomas
conference_blast3(Left to right: Joe Willard of People’s Emergency Center, Councilman Allan Domb, & Daniel Ferrell of HelpUSA)
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Click the links below to find coverage of the Press Conference By:


KYW News Radio

Generocity

WHYY