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Brotherly Love: Sending Help Straight To Neighborhoods

By Janelle Burrell, CBS Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia nonprofit has been taking its popular pop-ups on the road as it reaches out to help those who need a hand. This parking lot is abuzz with activity, and Melanie London, program director for JFCS, is helping keep everything moving.

“We love meeting and connecting with people all across the city,” she said.

This is JFCS In Your Neighborhood, with three outdoor areas, all socially distanced, in the parking lot of the New Journey Christian Center on East Chelten Avenue.

“It’s so important,” London said. “We used to have an indoor pop-up, but due to restrictions, we can’t have them, so we’re coming out. We’re setting up outside where it’s safe.

At one table, a social worker will answer questions. At another table, there are packages of fresh food like eggs and produce. And then there are racks of clothes, for adults and kids. JFCS calls it Our Closet, where people can pick clothing for the household.

Pia Eisenberg, senior vice president of community engagement for JFCS, said when COVID hit, their longtime community partners were eager to help make the outdoor pop-ups a reality.

“We reached out. They were wanting to do this with us, which was fantastic, and they help set up appointments,” Eisenberg said.

London said there’s always a need. “We especially need sneakers, all sizes, jeans, and sweatpants.”

JFCS says its big bus will keep popping up in communities.

“It’s such a meaningful special day for us when we’re out there,” Eisenberg said.

“We’re just happy to be able to provide things that people need,” London said.

Volunteer opportunities are limited because of COVID, but the organization would appreciate donations of high-quality clothing for Our Closet.