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.