By LaVeta Jones
Ben Franklin Parkway, lined with flags of countries from across the globe, is known for being a colorful and dramatic gateway to the cultural center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
But if visitors slow down and take a good look, beneath those waving flags can be found a seemingly invisible homeless population living along the parkway and in nearby Aviator Park. Although invisible to most, this community has long been on Watershed Church’s radar.
Four times per year, Pastor Eric McMahon and Watershed Church skip church and hit the streets “to live and love the way Jesus did,” McMahon wrote in a Facebook post.
Three teams fanned out from the Roxborough church on a recent Sunday.
The locations, including Aviator Park, were not chosen haphazardly. They are a result of McMahon encouraging his members to pray about how and where God would have them serve.
Two teams took food, toiletries and hand warmers to Aviator Park. The struggling community of Kensington, which has been ravaged by the heroin epidemic, was also visited and received these same items.
A third team served at AMY Northwest Middle School by cleaning up debris and leaves. Watershed previously held services at the school and has since adopted it to maintain an ongoing relationship.
Just southwest of Philadelphia, Pastor Chuck Kieffer and The Foundry food outreach center provide groceries to families, seniors, college students and children in need in southeast Delaware County.
Last summer, the church was approached by Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School, expressing an interest in collecting groceries on behalf of The Foundry.
“[The school] has helped us love our community louder,” says Kieffer.
Although 2020 had its own set of challenges, the one word Kieffer would use to best describe the year is abundance. The pantry never ran out of food while feeding more than 7,500 people and provided increased opportunities to pray with people and share the gospel.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was originally published by BRN United. To read more articles like this on Pennsylvania/South Jersey Baptists, visit brnunited.org/news. This article also appears in TAB News, a digital regional Baptist publication. For more information or to subscribe to the TAB News app, visit tabonline.org/TAB-News-app.
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