WePAC’s mission is to promote childhood literacy by engaging volunteers in Philadelphia public schools through re-opening and staffing libraries and academic mentoring. In their vision, every Philadelphia student will be empowered with the literacy skills vital to the success of the child and the prosperity of the community.
Our service-learning coordinator Rel from Repair the World, gave us various tasks in the library like sorting books, alphabetizing, computer work, and shelving.
After the library work, Rel led us in a reflective time to learn about literacy and libraries in Philadelphia and the lack of librarians in the city. We learned about the necessity of volunteers for programs like Wepac, and how they impact the lives of children in the area. And, we will all admit, while we were working, it was really hard not to read the books!
It was indeed a rainy day, but the group decided to explore Reading Terminal Market and the Art Museum in Center City Philly.
Another great day. Tomorrow, Friday, is our last one together and it will be packed. See you then!
The PA Horticultural Society City Harvest program taps into the skills and energy of urban gardeners and entrepreneurial growers to make fresh, nutritious produce more widely available to neighbors in need.
The program is creating an infrastructure of agricultural supply and education centers, as well as expanding fresh food production, distribution, and consumption in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, thereby creating a healthier future for thousands of city residents.
First, Alex led us through a walk-thru of the outdoor space around us, asking us to listen to the sounds we heard and to experience the place.
He then connected gardening work and the natural world to expressions of faith traditions like Judaism and Christianity. He shared about this week marking the start of Purim for Jews, a time of costumes and the story of Esther and when many Jewish people reflect on the revelation of what is hidden–discovering new things that have always been there, even the discovery of the presence of Yahweh. Alex did a great job of also connecting the natural world and the experience of the seasons of winter and spring to the Christian season of Lent. He asked the students from Messiah to reflect on what Lent means to them. Then, we headed into the greenhouse to start prepping the seeds that City Harvest folks had planted in pots to germinate; now they had grown into small, green vegetable plants.
Great attitude and enthusiasm on the part of the students! Looking forward to a packed but amazing day 3!
The organization partners with local and community-based organizations like the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children and Broad Street Ministry as it seeks to build a kinder and more equitable city. Repair the World works to inspire American Jews and their communities to give their time and effort to serve those in need. Their aim is to make service a defining part of American Jewish life.
Our group participated in a workshop with Mary Holmcrans, one of their food fellows. She presented information about food security and justice issues, including food deserts and food sovereignty. The students had a chance to reflect about those terms, as well as an opportunity to read some passages from the Torah [mostly from Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Exodus] and to reflect on how these passages speak to the issue of hunger and justice.
After the workshop, we went to Reading Terminal Market for some fun and well, eating.
Then, a quick stroll up and down South St. to glance at the Magic Gardens and one of the urban gardens in the city that provides fresh produce for those who do not have access to nutritious food.
And finally, the obligatory run up the Art Museum steps all the while humming the tune to Rocky.