Every year, the city of Philadelphia runs a “Philly Spring Cleanup” through our Streets Department. For the past two years, Circle of Hope has gotten in on the action in a big way. This year, we mobilized people to participate at multiple locations around the city including: Brewerytown, the Duckrey School, Hicks Street Garden, Child’s Elementary, the Frankford Ave Garden, Cambria and Hart Lane in Kensington, and in Germantown. The weather threw us for a loop and the event was pushed back one week due to snow and rain. Despite this curve ball, we had folks make a way to participate and bring in the spring season with some serious spring cleaning. It was a very practical way for us to generate hope in our neighborhoods by getting out there and being one with our neighbors and all of Philadelphia.
For me, this simple act helped to solidify ownership in the collaborative mission of making Philadelphia a more welcoming and beautiful place. I was also able to connect more deeply with neighbors that I usually just say “hello” to when our paths meet. And under all of it, Jesus calls us to reconciliation, no matter how small. I see this clean up as a way to reconcile our relationship with the earth, and all that’s been provided to us through it. Getting dirty and sweaty on a beautiful day in April helps me to see how my spirituality and faith can be both tangible and physical.
These are just a couple of reasons why I participated, and I have heard stories from other sites around the city where we are already invested in gardens, schools, and neighborhoods. I heard that we partnered with an Imam in Germantown, met neighbors in Kensington, and worked with Neighbors invested in Child’s Elementary in South Philly. We also cleaned up around The Duckrey School and helped revitalize Hicks Street Garden. Below is a photo representation of our little pop-ups all around the city! We hope you’ll join us next year!
-Alene Brunkhurst, reporting
Alene Brunkhurst is a Circle of Hope Compassion Core team member, a NICU nurse, and an explorer of Philly by way of running.