Interfaith Encounters Day 6

On Day 6, we traveled to NE Philly to Aid for Friends.

affentranceThe mission of Aid for Friends ( AFF)  is to alleviate the hunger and loneliness of isolated homebound individuals.  All their services are provided for free.

aff-top-logo– AFF provides home-cooked meals and the gift of friendship to people in the five-county Philadelphia region.

– Volunteer coordinators meet with each referred friend to determine needs, assess the situation, and assign a volunteer visitor.

– Empathetic visitors spend time with each friend on a weekly  basis as they deliver meals (frozen, home-cooked dinners, soups, breakfast bags and supplemental foods) and develop true friendships.

– Meals are provided by individuals and through group cooking events organized by boy and girl scout troops, schools, and other organizations,  Meals are then stored in freezers housed in churches, synagogues and community centers throughout the region and in the Aid for Friends warehouse/outreach center.

First, we got an orientation about the work of AFF. Then, we toured the facility.
affwarehouse affclothes
Then, we started to work. Some students sorted toiletry items; others prepared bags of food; others lifted, moved, and organized boxes.
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Afterwards, we shared lunch together.
Then, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech groups headed off to their next activity and we said our goodbyes.
Though only able to share a short amount of time with the students and leaders of these two Virginia schools, I was very encouraged by their openness to interfaith cooperation and their willingness to work together.
That afternoon, Bryn Mawr and Haverford students participated in interfaith case studies workshop with Interfaith Center ED, Abby Stamelman Hockey and then they had some much-needed free time.
Tomorrow, Friday, is our last day together.

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Josh grew up in Indiana and Iowa before completing a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. He has worked in a variety of settings, including the Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Church of Christ (UCC) in Philadelphia, Hawai’i, Mexico, and Michigan. Currently, he serves as pastor of Love in Action United Church of Christ, a progressive, Christian, LGBTQIA+ affirming and interfaith community in Hatboro, a suburb of Philadelphia. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Speech from Northwestern College (IA). Josh has worked with youth and young adult programs for 25 years regionally, nationally, and in Latin America. He is also a trained actor and performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, LLC. He has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in worship, youth groups, education, and group-building. Josh is also committed to promoting religious pluralism and partnering with people of all faiths and those who identify as atheist or agnostic to build bridges of shared values and cooperation. He is honored to work with the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia as a Fellow and a Consultant. Focus areas include: University alternative spring break and summer programs that incorporate faith encounters and service-learning for students; workplace diversity programs that promote understanding in organizations, corporations, schools, and hospital settings. Josh also enjoys playing basketball, strumming on the guitar, traveling, learning language, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philadelphia and thinks vegan cheesesteaks are amazingly good.

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