At this point in time, there are many Philadelphia-area businesses that are unfortunately shut down due to the global pandemic, but there are still many organizations working full steam ahead during this crisis—including the Broad Street Ministry.
Broad Street Ministry has been serving the City of Sisterly Love since 2005 as an alternative church community, and their mission of transforming our city, our institutions and ourselves by embracing the individual needs of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers through a variety of services is especially relevant now.
According to a release, to help spread the message of protecting our community, BSM has partnered up with Mural Arts Philadelphia, and HAHA MAG to install portable hand-washing stations and informational murals in four different locations across the city in a collaborative sanitation project.
The murals and hand-washing stations are now located at the Broad Street Ministry (315 South Broad St.), 839 South St., 2774 Kensington Ave. and the 1700 block of east-bound Vine Street. These visual representations of health and safety will continue to be a reminder for Philadelphians that containing this virus is of utmost importance—especially for those who can’t self-quarantine during these trying times. Although these displays are temporary, the lasting effect they will bring is incredibly essential.
“With so much of the city closing down, we thought it would be critical to help those without shelter to practice good hygiene, and what could be more essential at this time than washing your hands,” said Mike Dahl, Executive Director for Broad Street Ministry, in the release. “The ability to work with our friends at Mural Arts to raise the visibility of not only the stations but also those who need to use them made this effort quite frankly a no-brainer.”
The artists behind this project include: Philadelphia-area public and gallery artist NDA, Rad Girl Artist of the Year in 2018 Nile Livingston, Cuban-Egyptian portrait painter Symone Salib and Costa Rican artist Dora Cuenca. All four have a vast range of talent and dedicated their skills collectively to make this mission possible.
According to the release, Starbucks and The Independence Foundation have funded the project, and Conrad Benner of StreetsDept and Ginger Rudolph of HahaMag have pledged their support as collaborators. Their shared goal is to raise awareness for the seriousness of the pandemic and supply public hand-washing stations that could be instrumental in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among Philadelphia’s most vulnerable.
“At Mural Arts Philadelphia, we have always admired the work of Broad Street Ministry,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia in the release. “When they approached us to help with this project, we knew it was an opportunity to bring beauty to public spaces and to bring attention to an important public health issue. We thought it was incumbent upon us to fly into action and help with this initiative quickly.”
A few other organizations have seen what Broad Street Ministry has been doing and are joining in on the “giving back” cause. Dig, the locally sourced, healthy hotspot eatery has started a program, Dig Feeds, and has been donating meals to Broad Street Ministry to help serve their cause. How it works, for every bowl ordered online, Dig is donating a meal to someone in need. Dig is currently looking for more organizations to donate too, any Philadelphian who has one in mind can email Dig at ideas@ or text DIGFEEDS to 80519.
If there is one silver lining from all of this, it’s the apparent glow of selflessness that some people and organizations are displaying in such a chaotic period. Hopefully, when this time passes we all can remember that the human spirit can survive with acts such as these.