Around Town

Whitman Council hosts back-to-school drive

Whitman Council is hosting a back-to-school drive through Aug. 25. New school supplies can be dropped off at the office at 3rd and Porter. All new school supplies are needed.

Saturday summer hours return to Free Library

After a long hiatus, the Free Library of Philadelphia announced the return of summer Saturday hours at 10 of its neighborhood library branches, including the Charles Santore Library at 932 S. 7th St. in South Philly.

Although Parkway Central and three of FLP’s regional libraries offered summer Saturday hours prior to the pandemic, other neighborhood library branches haven’t been open on Saturdays during the summer for many years. Residents are now invited to check out titles, enjoy programming and access other services at the following library branches on Saturdays, now through Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The library is truly grateful that Mayor Kenney and the City Council chose to approve the necessary funding for these Saturday hours,” said Kelly Richards, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “We also want to thank our frontline staff for volunteering to work overtime to cover these additional hours.”

The additional summer Saturday hours will provide another opportunity for Philadelphians who aren’t able to use the library during the week. More importantly, it provides safe, welcoming spaces for youth while school is not in session.

School supplies needed at Navy Yard

Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia South at The Navy Yard is a participating collection site for The Navy Yard Philadelphia’s Annual Back-to-School Donation Drive. All collected supplies will be distributed to F. Amedee Bregy Elementary School and D. Newlin Fell School, both K-8 elementary schools located in South Philadelphia. Collections will take place through Aug. 25 at various locations throughout the Navy Yard campus.

Items needed are primary composition books, spiral one subject notebooks, Crayola crayons, Jumbo Crayola crayons, Crayola colored pencils, Clorox wipes, erasers, pencils, glue sticks, rulers, colored pocket folders, black EXPO markers, large bottles of hand sanitizer, plastic pencil cases, plastic shoe box with lid for supplies and school bags (large enough for folders and books).

BlackStar Projects announces schedule of programs for film festival

BlackStar Projects, an organization celebrating black, brown and indigenous film and media artists, announced its full schedule of programming for the 2023 BlackStar Film Festival. The festival’s 12th edition will take place virtually as well as in person in Philadelphia, with screenings at the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, Lightbox Film Center and Suzanne Roberts Theatre as well as panel discussions, performances and parties at sites across the city.

Participants in this year’s programs will include Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, Vashti Harrison and Terence Nance. With panels and talks taking place daily on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus, featured guests will speak to topics including black Muslim representation on screen; “curatorial justice”; intimacy and movement direction; disability justice in filmmaking; and imagining black queer futures. This year, BlackStar has also transformed The Daily Jawn, which BlackStar founder and Chief Executive & Artistic Officer Maori Karmael Holmes has hosted in previous editions of the festival as a talk show. The festival will see The Daily Jawn expanded into several daily conversations, taking place throughout each day at The Plaza Stage in the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus — which will be known as The Daily Jawn Stage for the duration of the festival — with Holmes joined by three new co-hosts: author, activist and cultural creative Dr. Yaba Blay, entrepreneur and podcaster Shanti Mayers and actor, writer and comic D’Lo. A variety of additional panels and talks will also be located at The Daily Jawn Stage, serving as a central hub for the festival.

“Given the troubling state of our political landscape, including for writers and other artists of color, we hope this year’s festival will provide a space for joy, reflection and community building. We are thrilled to present a bold 12th edition of BlackStar with filmmakers presenting radical possibilities to audiences across the globe,” Holmes said.

Passes for the festival are on sale, including all-access passes ($350) for all in-person and virtual screenings and events, and virtual passes ($175) for screening all films online. Individual tickets for virtual and in-person screenings are also now on sale, for $7.50 and $18, respectively.

The full list of in-person screenings can be accessed on the festival website. Virtual screenings will be released on a timed schedule and be available to watch for 48 hours.

For more information on showtimes, festival programming and registration — including the full schedule of virtual programming — visit

City’s compositing program begins

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation joined Bennett Compost and city, state and federal officials to celebrate the next stage of an innovative public-private partnership that promises to dramatically reduce the food waste produced by the city’s 150-plus recreation centers.

With support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Department of Agriculture, the new program will see food waste collected from city recreation centers composted on city parkland for the first time, at a newly opened composting facility operated by Bennett Compost.

Through the partnership, PPR will receive 75 cubic yards of finished compost from Bennett each spring, which will be distributed to PPR’s network community gardens and orchard.

“The Parks & Rec meal program provides a vital service to Philadelphia families,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Interim Commissioner Orlando Rendon. “By partnering with Bennett to recycle the food waste produced at our rec centers, we are taking steps to create a more sustainable system. Thanks to partners like Bennett, the EPA and the USDA, we are finding new ways for city government and small businesses to create meaningful changes that make Philadelphia a healthier, more sustainable place to live.”

As the city’s second-largest provider of youth meals, Parks & Rec is committed to reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Using Bennett Compost’s curbside pickup model, the program collects pre-sorted food waste generated on site from meals served during recreational programming. Once fully operational, the city estimates it will recycle as much as 150 tons of food scraps from rec centers each year.

“Bennett Compost is excited to partner with Parks & Rec to bring composting to neighborhood rec centers throughout Philadelphia,” said Bennett Compost co-owner Tim Bennett. “We hope that the first-of-its-kind composting permit developed for this project will allow community-scale composting to expand throughout the city of Philadelphia and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We are grateful for the opportunity provided by Parks & Rec and the continued support of all our partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and in the community.”

The program is made possible thanks to a public-private partnership with Bennett Compost. Bennett receives a long-term lease to run its commercial composting operation out of a vacant Parks & Rec facility in exchange for providing free curbside compost pickup to the city’s 150-plus recreation centers and playgrounds.

The facility at ​5650 Rising Sun Ave. represents Bennett Compost’s first fully permitted operation in the city. A growing local business since being selected through a competition RFP process to operate the city facility, Bennett has doubled its full-time workforce and tripled the number of formerly incarcerated people it employs.

Curbside food waste pickup began at select city rec centers in fall 2021. Today, the program has expanded to offer weekly collections from 50 committed recreation centers. All food waste collected from recreation centers is recycled into compost on-site at the Bennett Compost facility on Rising Sun Avenue.

Scanlon statement on House passage of National Defense Authorization Act

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon released the following statement in response to the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 in the House of Representatives.

“For decades, Congress has crafted and passed the National Defense Authorization Act on a bipartisan basis. While major pieces of legislation like this are – of necessity – works of compromise, House Democrats worked to craft a bipartisan bill that demonstrates our commitment to national security and ensures that our service members and their families would get the support that they deserve.

“The House Armed Services Committee approved a bipartisan NDAA bill with a nearly unanimous vote. Unfortunately, Speaker McCarthy then caved to the most radical members of his caucus and allowed them to hijack this critical legislation and play politics with our national security. They transformed a bill that represented a bipartisan commitment to those who serve and their families into an extremist manifesto that targets lifesaving care for women in uniform, attacks LGBTQ+ service members and chooses the books that military families can read.

“At a time when our armed services are struggling to meet their recruitment and retention targets, the amendments demanded by the far right threaten the health and safety of many women and LGBTQ+ service members and their families, and undermine efforts to recruit Americans of diverse backgrounds so that our armed services are both more inclusive and more reflective of our nation.”

Support for small nonprofits

A Little Better Company, an agency focused on making the world a little better, announces the launch of its inaugural Unless Project, a grant-meets-accelerator program providing $150,000 in marketing and capacity-building services to small organizations with big ideas but limited resources.

Up to four U.S.-based nonprofits will be selected to participate in the Unless Project to turn their transformational ideas into impact.

Simon Rogers, founder of ALBC, said: “In our experience, organizations with truly new and novel ideas struggle to get the resources and buy-in they need to bring their ideas to life. Today, the ability to communicate in the right way can make or break their success, and that gap between idea and impact is where the Unless Project comes in.”

The Unless Project seeks applications from nonprofits that are working on new, novel, provable, scalable and sustainable solutions to challenges in one of ALBC’s four focus areas:

• Environmental Sustainability

• Human Health and Wellness

• Social Progress and Advocacy

• Artistic Activism

The short application process includes a five-question eligibility quiz (yes/no answers only), a short application (written or video submissions) and, for finalists, a 30- to 45-minute Zoom discussion with the selection committee.

The eligibility quiz is available now, and applications are open Aug. 15 through Oct. 15. Awardees will be notified on Dec. 15, and then be guided through a six-month process to transform their brand, tapping into all of ALBC’s capabilities and expertise.

ALBC will cover all marketing-related expenditures along the way. Additionally, the grant will include a $2,500 stipend to cover unplanned out-of-pocket expenses..

Interested nonprofits can take the eligibility quiz at

Or sign up for an information session:

To learn more, become part of the ALBC collective or to partner with the Unless Project, visit ••

Day dedicated to women

NBC 10 news anchor Tracy Davidson will present Lifting Your Voice, a day dedicated to women, on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Philadelphia Country Club 1601 Spring Mill Road, in Gladwyne. The guest speaker will be Jen Croneberger, an author and former recipient of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry’s Female Business Leader of the Year. She holds a master’s degree in Sports and Performance Psychology and a Sustainable Business Strategy Certification from the Harvard Business School.

For tickets, visit ••

Travel solo

Starr Bus Charter and Tours is planning its next solo trip to Corning, New York on July 26-27. The trip will feature visits to the Corning Museum of Glass and the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. Travelers will explore 35 centuries of glass artistry, experience hands-on glass making, see historic aircraft and meet the craftsmen that restore them. There will be a buffet dinner and overnight hotel accommodations as well as a scenic boat ride on Seneca Lake. Call 609-587-0626. ••

Hoops camp for boys and girls

The 17th annual Jaguar St. Ephrem Basketball Camp for Boys and Girls will take place from Monday, July 24, to Friday, July 28. The cost is $150 and includes a basketball and T-shirt. The camp is held in the air-conditioned Marian Center at St. Ephrem Parish, 5400 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem. The camp is under the direction of former college coach Dan Williams. For more information, email Williams at ••

English classes for Ukrainians

Holy Family University’s English as a Second Language initiative for newly arrived Ukrainian adults is accepting new applicants. The classes are free and open to members of the community who are at least 18 years old. Classes are at 9801 Frankford Ave. and online. Class days and times are online (through Aug. 24, Tuesday and Thursday, 6-7 p.m.) and in person (through July 31, Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m.). Since last fall, more than 100 newly arrived Ukrainians have attended classes at no cost to help them improve their English proficiency and become familiar with the Philadelphia community. Interested applicants can register at ••

Opera shows

Amici Opera Company has the following upcoming performances:

Verdi’s Oberto on Sunday, July 23, at 3 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, 1128 Cottman Ave.

Verdi’s Rigoletto on Sunday, July 30, at 3 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, and Sunday, Aug. 6, at 2:30 p.m. at Dock Woods, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale.

DeBussy’s Pelleas & Melisande on Saturdays, Aug. 5 and 12, at 4 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer.

Call 215-224-0257 or go to the Amici Opera Company page on Facebook. ••

Book club meeting in August

The Book Club of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will be holding a Zoom session on Monday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. The book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. To register, call Lynn Ratmansky at 215-677-1600. ••

Farm stand at Jeanes

Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus, 7600 Central Ave., has a farm stand that is open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. The stand is located next to parking lot C of Jeanes Campus and the Fox Chase Cancer Center Campus. Call 215-728-4861 or email ••

Parkinson’s support group

Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus is offering a Parkinson’s disease support group for those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their families. The group will meet on the second Wednesday of every other month from 6-7 p.m. at the Cheltenham Friends Meetinghouse, 7604 Central Ave. The schedule is Aug. 9, Oct. 11, Dec. 13 (holiday party) and Feb. 14. The group is led by nurse practitioner June Ro, and will include guest speakers. To register, contact Ro at 215-707-2619 or ••

Israeli Scouts performance

Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, 9768 Verree Road, will host a performance of the Israeli Scouts Friendship Caravan on Wednesday, Aug. 2. The evening will start at 6:15 p.m. with a pay-as-you-wish pasta dinner, followed by Israeli music and dancing by the Scouts scheduled for 7:30. Call 215-677-1600 to make your reservation. ••

Day cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a day trip on Tuesday, Aug. 22, that includes a narrated luncheon cruise on the “River Lady” paddlewheel out of Toms River, cruising on the Toms River and Barnegat Bay and free time on the Asbury Park boardwalk.  All-inclusive cost is $118. Call 215-788-9408. ••

Third Thursday at Glen Foerd

Glen Foerd, Philadelphia’s public park and nonprofit cultural site along the Delaware River, presents the return of its free Third Thursday Summer Series of live music, food, family-fun activities and art. The Thursday dates will be July 20 and Aug. 17, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The public is invited to bring a blanket or chairs, enjoy lawn games, roam Glen Foerd’s grounds and explore its Gilded Age mansion, which will be open for free self-guided tours. Donations are appreciated but not required, and attendees are asked to register in advance by visiting Glen Foerd’s events page at For more information on the Third Thursday Summer Series, visit or call 215-632-5330. ••

Broadway show

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is running a bus trip to New York on Saturday, Sept. 30, to see the Broadway production of Some Like It Hot. The cost is $230, which includes orchestra seating and round-trip motor coach. Bus leaves from 604 Township Line Road, Cheltenham, at 9:15 a.m. Call Harriet at 215-969-8366 for tickets. The event supports cancer research and compassionate patient care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. ••

VFW looking for members

Bustleton-Somerton/CTR1 Michael J. Strange VFW Post 6617 meets on the third Wednesday of every month at American Legion Post 810, 9151 Old Newtown Road. Meetings start at 7:30 p.m. If you are a military veteran who served in a designated combat zone, you are eligible to join the VFW. Contact Commander Israel Wolmark at 215-725-0630 if you would like to join the post. ••

Save at Boscov’s

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is partnering with Boscov’s “Friends Helping Friends” on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at all Boscov’s locations, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The group is selling a shopping pass for $5, which can represent savings of up to 25% off purchases. Call Shirley at 215-530-6637 to purchase shopping passes. The profits of the event will be donated to Fox Chase Cancer Center to support cancer research and compassionate patient care. ••

Casino trip

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is running a casino trip to Wind Creek Bethlehem casino on Sunday, Aug. 13. The cost is $45 and includes round-trip motor coach and $25 in slot dollars. Bus will leave from 604 Township Line Road, Cheltenham, at 9:45 a.m. and return about 8 p.m. Call Elaine at 215-913-9237 for reservations. The event supports cancer research and compassionate patient care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. ••

Trip to Ohio, Kentucky

St. Jerome’s Senior Citizens Club invites the public to join them for a five-day trip (Oct. 15-19) to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, with a guided tour of Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. For reservations, questions or a brochure, call Diane McDowell at 267-496-2431. ••

Program for nonprofits

Cranaleith Spiritual Center, 13475 Proctor Road, will present No Margin, No Mission: Taking Your Nonprofit to the Next Level of Success on Wednesday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Duane Carter will lead the program, which includes a light breakfast, lunch, workshop and a copy of his book, No Margin, No Mission. The cost is $97. To register or for more information, call 215-934-6206 or visit ••

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise from Oct. 6-17, visiting Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Italy. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,298 to $8,098 per person, double occupancy. Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations. ••

Cruise the Mediterranean

Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Venice on Oct. 10-19. The trip is all inclusive with round-trip airfare, a beverage package, all meals, three specialty dinners, taxes, transfers and all gratuities. The cost for a balcony sea view cabin is $3,511 per person. For more information, contact Fillmore Travel’s Kevin Fries at 215-498-8294 or ••

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. ••