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 the Midwest before completing a B.A. in Theatre at Northwestern College [IA] and a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ [UCC], Josh has lived and worked in the Midwest, East Coast, Hawai’i, and Mexico. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Welcome Project PA, host of the Bucks-Mont PRIDE Festival, and he is Pastor of Love In Action UCC, an open and affirming congregation featured in a Vox Media episode of Divided States of Women with Liz Plank and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Josh has 20+ years of nonprofit experience, including leading workshops and training in corporate, medical, and academic settings, focused on diversity & inclusion, grant writing, fund raising, and program management. Josh is a fellow of Interfaith Philadelphia, and designs and coordinates HS and University student groups for interfaith immersion service-learning weeks. Josh also co-facilitates Ally trainings for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and interfaith cooperation. He is a founding member of The Society for Faith & Justice, and a Collaborator for Nurturing Justice, and a member of the Driving PA Forward team via New Sanctuary Movement. He also performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, and has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in religious and secular settings. Josh also enjoys running, singing, traveling, learning languages, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philly.

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