Today We Remember

Jun 5, 2019

Ten years ago on June 20, 2007, a seven-alarm fire broke out on the 3200 block of H Street. Its source was one of Philadelphia’s 700 abandoned factories.

A hundred families were affected. Dozens of homes were evacuated, and many houses burned to the ground, including the community center here at The Simple Way. Cars exploded before people could move them. But no one was hurt.

The neighborhood pulled together. Volunteers in the emergency response shelter came by to share how beautiful it was to see our neighborhood take care of each other, not a single person ended up staying in the shelter. Our neighbors opened their homes up to each other.

We are proud to call Kensington home. In the decade since the fire, we have resurrected the entire block that burned down. We were able to stabilize families, build our greenhouse and aquaponics system, and plant fruit trees that are in full bloom right now.
Now we call the block Phoenix Park because it rose from the ashes.

Just as we raised thousands of dollars to rebuild our neighborhood after the fire, we want to invite you to be a part of the next 10 years of the ongoing redemption story here at The Simple Way. We need your support — not just in the times of crisis, but in the everyday moments of doing small things with great love.

We are so excited about what the future holds. This year we will be collaborating with another organization to start to build a community health center on the exact location where the factory burned down 10 years ago. It will be the next chapter of Phoenix Park.

We will continue in the defiant hope of Christ and his empty tomb we will love people back to life, and make ugly things beautiful. We invite you today and everyday to join us in rising from the ashes.

Caz Tod-Pearson

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Simple Way Scholars Alumnus – Hector Davila Jr.

I’m a people-oriented person. I’ve always loved being a part of a community and building long-lasting relationships. I love hearing stories from other people and what they’ve been through. My philosophy in life is that everyone has a story to share, and each story is...

Neighbor Spotlight: Loving Your Block by Picking Up Trash

Loving your neighborhood can feel overwhelming or abstract. “Where do I start?” is a question many people ask when they come to us.  Sometimes, the easiest way to start loving your neighborhood is by looking at what’s right in front of you. It's beginning to look...

Black Lives Matter & Proximity in Protests

All is not well in Philadelphia right now. Our neighborhood has been facing huge challenges in the throes of COVID-19. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor (among many others), have caused outrage and indignation to boil over. We are...

Update on Our Covid-19 Response

Thank you for your wave of generosity towards us! Your prayers, support, and gifts have cheered us in these trying times. As you know, we have been working harder than ever to love Kensington during the pandemic. We are trying to balance the sacrificial love this...

Covid-19: We Exist for Times like These

Hello dear friends, In this unprecedented time, I want to tell you why I feel more resolved and certain than ever. My teammate, Jen Casselberry, said it best the other day. "As I've been worrying about how we're going to make it, thinking about how we're going to...

Open House Takeaways: Dave’s Reflections

Pictured above: Simple Way Staff with the most recent Open House attendees. On the registration form there was a question – “why do want to take part in the open house”. My answer was “I don’t know, I just feel like I need to.” The truth is I had a lot of questions...

Maria’s Story

The first time I went in for my cancer treatment, everyone I saw at the clinic was so sad. I couldn’t help myself. I started to crack homeless jokes. I got a few gasps of surprise; people started asking me how I could be joking and telling homeless jokes in the middle...

Today We Remember

Ten years ago on June 20, 2007, a seven-alarm fire broke out on the 3200 block of H Street. Its source was one of Philadelphia’s 700 abandoned factories. A hundred families were affected. Dozens of homes were evacuated, and many houses burned to the ground, including...

Anniversary: Miracle on Potter Street

They all heard the thud. Moans followed. Chrissy Kind, a long-time supporter of The Simple Way, had gone upstairs after “the worst headache of her life” struck. The plaintive sound was unusual; Chrissy was known as an energetic pillar of The Simple Way’s support team....

Laying the Foundation

Pictured above: An excavator lies still at the site of Esperanza Health Center’s forthcoming parking structure. Work is well underway at the bank building nearby, the building that Esperanza Health Center will move into in the spring. They’ve now turned to digging...