It’s National Volunteer Week. How can you contribute?
A few weeks ago, when SEPTA suddenly closed the Somerset Street station, many people from Kensington and the surrounding community asked, “How can we help?”
The public response was overwhelming and effective. The station “went from ‘indefinite’ closure, to four or five weeks, to two weeks. The biggest variable was the amount of noise people made,” NKCDC Executive Director Dr. Bill McKinney told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The problems that caused the station to close—and the problems that the public protest highlighted—have not gone away. But they are not insurmountable, Dr. McKinney says. Collective action and community-based solutions can make Kensington Avenue a safe, healthy, vibrant corridor again.
Strong neighborhoods make a strong city. We are all in this together. So how can you help?
1. Stay connected.
We know there’s a lot going on, but community awareness is important. Subscribe to this newsletter or follow NKCDC on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Our service area stretches from Harrowgate to Fishtown, and we are committed to advocating for the needs of our community.
2. Support your local civic.
Local neighborhood organizations do amazing things and they can use your time, talents, and money. Add your voice and your support to one of these local associations or find the one closest to you.
- Somerset Neighbors for Better Living (SNBL) just finalized a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the developer of the 2740 Amber Street residential development project in mid-March. The community voted in opposition to the project in the fall and that spurred the developer to begin talking about a CBA to bring more affordable housing to the neighborhood. Thanks to SNBL neighbors, 8 units will be affordable at 20% AMI and 8 at 40% AMI in the 132 unit project. This is a huge win for SNBL and Kensington!
- Harrowgate Civic Association and Port Richmond on Patrol and Civic (PROPAC) teamed up to vaccinate almost 2,000 residents on Saturday, April 3 at St. George School. It was an immense volunteer coordination effort that brought together many City departments, local organizations, and stakeholders. The vaccine clinic ran like a well-oiled machine thanks to the volunteer efforts of our civic leaders.
- Many local civics and other community groups turned out on Saturday, April 10, for the Philly Spring Cleanup. NKCDC coordinates groups in Port Richmond, Fishtown and Kensington every year. We promote group clean-up locations, hand out tools provided by Philadelphia CLIP, and (Covid willing) celebrate afterward with beer and barbecue at Philadelphia Brewing Company. Check out some photos from this year below.
3. Support local small businesses.
NKCDC is using your donations to leverage more support for a Small Business Community Relief Fund. We published this list of Black-owned businesses in the area and will continue to grow it as we learn new names. If you have a good experience with a small business or local restaurant, use your social media to boost their profile!
When good things happen, say so. Better yet, join a party! NKCDC will be celebrating several bright lights in Kensington and Fishtown on Thursday, April 22. The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) is honoring Brenda Mosley with a Community Leader Award, and Jeannine Cook of Harriett’s Bookshop with an Equitable Entrepreneur Award. We also have a finalist for the Blue Ribbon Award. Connected Community: A Trauma Informed Community Engagement Toolkit came out of our collaboration with Kensington community leaders and Impact Services Corporation. Learn more about all this good work by registering for the PACDC’s online gala.