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Family matters New year, new beginnings We hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday season and that 2014 is off to a fresh and healthy start! As we begin this new year we are excited about the possibilities of new beginnings. The beginning of a new year is much like a fresh snow and everything is covered under a blanket of white. What kind of tracks will you make this year? For us, heading into our 35th year of operation, is all about growth. When we began caring for the 14 mentally ill women at a room above the Ugly Pub back in 1979 it was a completely volunteer-led effort.

Although much has changed in the days since the Ugly Pub, one thing still rings true—we remain committed to our initial calling, to find and care for the abandoned poor and to be family with those who have none. Our goal this year is to continue to strengthen our capabilities to assure that Bethesda Project will always exist as a caring family for Philadelphia’s homeless. Join us. Donate, volunteer or fundraise. Learn how to get involved at

Fast forward 35 years and we now care for more than 2,500 homeless and formerly homeless men and women each year at 14 sites in and around Center City. Our facilities offer a continuum of care ranging from lowdemand drop-in centers, shelters and safe havens to permanent supportive residences and semi-independent, low-income housing. We care for the homeless regardless of race, creed or any other designation. The only creed that we require of our staff is that of compassion.

In memoriam

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to longtime Bethesda Project resident Frances (Frannie) B. who passed away in December. Frannie lived at Bethesda Spruce Street residence for 19 years and was loved by all. The Spruce Street community will be holding a memorial service for Frannie later this month. She will be missed dearly.

Organize a fundraiser to support Bethesda Project Bethesda Project works with many groups throughout the year who rally to gather food, clothing and other necessary supplies for our homeless and formerly homeless guests and residents. One of the most popular fundraisers is a garment drive where companies collect brand-new boxers or briefs, in sizes ranging from 34 to 48, T-shirts, sizes M—XXL, and socks (our most needed items). Running the drive can be as simple as sending out a company email, designating a drop-off location, and assigning an individual to deliver here to Bethesda Project on South Street in Philadelphia. If you would like to speak to someone at Bethesda Project on operating a garment drive, please contact Yarissa Reyes, marketing and communication director, at 215-985-1600. If you have other ideas for fundraisers benefiting Bethesda Project, please email our Development Department at

Fill up those Empty Bowls at Malvern Prep! Mark your calendars for the sixth annual Empty Bowls fundraising event from Malvern Prep! Empty Bowls will take place on Monday, January 20 (Martin Luther King Day) starting at 7 p.m. A variety of soups donated by local businesses will be served by the students. The attendees will also be able to choose a handmade ceramic bowl to take home. These uniquely decorated bowls – the work of Malvern students and some of the homeless men sheltered by Bethesda Project – are meant to be a reminder of those who frequently go hungry in our world. The full proceeds from tickets and from the sale of other bowls available at the dinner, including silent auction pieces, will be donated to Bethesda Project. Last year’s Empty Bowls was a remarkable success, raising more than $11,000 for Bethesda Project. This year’s event takes place on Martin Luther King Day, a designated national day of service. In the spirit of service that is so important to Malvern’s mission of Caritas, please make plans to join us for Empty Bowls 2014. If you’d like more information about this event, or would like to sign up, visit

Phillies serve up lunch Warm smiles from the Phillies' front office greeted the dozens of men and women who gathered at Bethesda Project’s shelter, Our Brothers’ Place, on December 18 for a hot meal. The Phillies’ group had prepared a holiday feast with all the fixings -and they couldn’t wait to serve it to those who stood before them. This was the 14th year the team has strapped on aprons to host the annual event, at a facility that provides shelter and emergency services to the homeless. Among those taking part were team president David Montgomery, senior vice president Ruben Amaro Jr. and Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “The Phillies are so dedicated to making this a special day,” said Fr. Domenic Rossi, Bethesda Project’s founder and CEO. “Their hearts are really into this.” “It’s very rewarding,” said Sophie Riegel, who works in the Phillies’ community outreach department and helped bake the many turkeys for the event. “We love coming here every year. It’s such a good feeling to come together as a team to provide a nice meal.” The Phanatic -- never one to miss the festivities -- mingled with the crowd, doing his usual antics and bringing laughter wherever he went.

SAVE THE DATE! Preparations are on their way for the annual St. Norbert’s Parish fundraiser benefiting Bethesda Project. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, March 1. Last year’s fundraiser was a tremendous success, raising over $50,000 for Bethesda Project. This year’s celebration aims to be even better! Visit St. Norbert’s website for more details or contact Michele Howard at

A merry, merry Christmas was had by all!

Volunteers visit Connelly House

Bethesda Bainbridge residents await their delicious Christmas meal

Residents of Connelly House enjoy a wonderful holiday party hosted by Bethesda Project Board Chair Bill Cotter and friends

Our Brothers’ Place staff begin sorting through hundreds of gifts for our shelter guests

Resident Emilio enjoys the Christmas tree at Bethesda Bainbridge

Medford Middle School volunteer Addie dishes out birthday cake for the Bethesda Bainbridge residents at the “everybody’s birthday” celebration

Students from Medford Middle School enjoy reading to Bethesda Bainbridge residents

Christmas elves make their magic in the kitchen!

Medford Middle School volunteers visit Bethesda Bainbridge

Thank you to our volunteers!

Angela, Aisling and Amy deliver over $500 in gift cards from their colleagues at McKean Defense Group (Philadelphia Navy Yard)

Thank you to all who donated during the holiday season! The following is a list of those volunteers and benefactors who played a special role in Bethesda’s holiday celebrations— whether it was donating and/or cooking food, leading Christmas parties, or providing gifts and donations. Thank you!

Chuck Harmon and Jeanne Stagloff; Addie Toleno, Stella Buccella and students from Medford Memorial Middle School (Medford); April Gagne and St Augustine’s Parish (Olde City); Bayada Home Health Care; Bethesda Cooks: Suzy Hoffmann, Cathy Dernoncourt, Alice Quinn, Phyllis Trickett, Mary Joan Cleary, Pam Conly, Judy Stafford, Mary Ann Flynn, Holly Meyers, Karen and Jerry Leimkuhler; Bill and Jean Cotter, Bob and Mary Ann Schriver and Saint Mary Magdalen Parish (Media); Bob Dymowski and neighbors from Troon Village (Hershey Mills); BOMA; Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church; Linda Van Oker; Aisling, Angela, Amy and the McKean Defense Group; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; Liberti Church; Living Waters Ministries; Anita Dixon, Donna Riddle, Ann Trevisan and the 4th grade class at St. Maximilian Kolbe School, (West Chester); Ann Watts; Mary Conway and Ss. Simon & Jude Parish (Westtown); Mary Witt, George Melillo and St. Gabriel’s Parish (Norwood); Frank and Desiree Altiere; Master Chuck Vaughn and Students of the Valley Forge Martial Arts; Chuck Walsh, Family and Friends; Debbie Baughman and Family; Denise Ellaouni and Brandi Scalessa; Derek Forenzia and Forenzia Food for Friends; Judy Ha and the Renewal Church; Karen Gindele and Family; Judith Eckles and Jeff Dreiling; Margie Winters and Waldron Mercy Academy (Merion); Marie Herrschaft and Family; The Philadelphia Phillies Staff; Marilyn Rafferty, Daniel Rafferty and Sacred Heart Church (Royersford); Members of Rodeph Shalom; Mother Bethel Church; Ted Snowe and St. Francis in the Fields Church (Malvern); Terri, Kevin, Chris, Caitlin and Skip Kunda; Tim Gavin and neighbors; Patricia Lucy and students, parents, staff and teachers of Hillside Elementary School (Berwyn); Wini Wolff; Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill; UPenn Civic House; Vanessa Goody; Vince Carosella Family and Friends; Pat Arnold and Bishop Eustace Preparatory School (Pennsauken); Rip Muhlenhaupt; John and Amy Medwid; Dick Nourie and Family; Carol Coyne, Michele Howard, Elizabeth von dem Hagen and St Norbert’s Parish; Helen Lozano; Ivonne Benitez and Family; Jade Slamer and Family; Jen and Wayne Rickert; Judi Schein and St. Cecilia’s Parish (Foxchase); Sammy Arroyo and Iglesia Alianza Cristiana y Misionera and the St. Joseph University Campus Ministry; Leslie Coogan; Seth Kaufman; Clifford W. Quibell; Walgreens; The Lipstein Family Foundation; William Silvey; and Nina Gallacher.

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1630 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19146 Tel: (215) 985-1600 Fax: (215) 732-8214

Family Matters January 2014  

Family Matters is a publication of Bethesda Project, a caring family for Philadelphia's homeless.

Family Matters January 2014  

Family Matters is a publication of Bethesda Project, a caring family for Philadelphia's homeless.