This morning, a 7-alarm fire consumed an abandoned warehouse in our Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia. The Simple Way Community Center at 3200 Potter Street was destroyed as well as at least eight of our neighbors’ homes. Over 100 people were evacuated from their homes, and 400 families are currently without power. Despite this developing tragedy, we are incredibly thankful to share that all of our community members and every one of our neighbors is safely out of harm’s way.
This fire will forever change the fabric of our community. Eight families are currently homeless, and in many cases have lost their vehicles as well as their homes. One of our neighbors, the Mahaias Family, lost their three cars as well as the equipment one family member uses for her massage therapy business. Teenager Brian Mahaias is devastated not because he has lost his belongings, but because he fears that this fire will force him to move away from this neighborhood that is his family as well as his home.
The Simple Way has lost a community center that was home to our Yes! And… afterschool program, community arts center, and Cottage Printworks t-shirt micro-business as well as to two of our community members. Community members Shane Claiborne and Jesce Walz have lost all of their belongings, Yes! And…’s after school studio and library were ruined, and community member Justin Donner’s Cottage Printworks equipment and t-shirts were destroyed.
We are thankful that we are able to help each other during this time of need, and we will continue to keep your informed about today’s events.
We have established funds to support the families who have lost their homes, the Yes! And… afterschool program, and the Simple Way community.
A fund to support the families has been established through a partner organization, EAPE. Tax-deductible donations can be made at https://www.tonycampolo.org/online_donation.php. Please make sure to put “Kensington Families Fund” in the memo section.
Donations to the Rebuilding Fund can be made via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-The Simple Way Community