Around Town

Deck the Ave returns to East Passyunk

East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District invites people to take pictures with Santa Claus at the Singing Fountain (East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street) on Dec. 14 from 5-7 p.m., Dec. 16 from 3-5 p.m. and Dec. 17 from noon to 2 p.m.

The East Passyunk BID will also present the following holiday happenings during Deck The Ave:

  • East Passyunk Punch Card – Through Jan. 1, shoppers will receive a punch for each $10 spent at participating businesses. Once 10 punches have been received, submit the completed card to one of East Passyunk Avenue’s businesses and be automatically entered into a prize raffle for a gift certificate.
  • Letters to Santa – All are invited to drop off letters to Santa at East Passyunk Avenue’s North Pole Mailbox located at the Singing Fountain starting after the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.
  • Pop-Up Music/Entertainment – Local musicians and carolers will perform throughout the duration of Deck The Ave around the Singing Fountain and Mifflin Triangle, plus up and down the Avenue on weekends.
  • 13th Annual Ornament Show – Presented by Nice Things Handmade, this beloved annual ornament show will showcase more than 50 local artists and their handmade ornament submissions for sale running through Jan. 12.

Scanlon calls for increased home heating assistance funding

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-5th dist.) joined 115 House members in requesting increased funding totaling $1.6 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

“As you know, LIHEAP helps families who are at risk of being unable to afford to heat their homes in the winter or cool them in the summer. Last year, more than six million households across the country relied on critical assistance from the LIHEAP program,” the lawmakers wrote. “For the families who receive LIHEAP, it is a critical lifeline that prevents them from making the impossible choice between staying warm and having enough food or paying for their medications.”

In Fiscal Year 2023, the LIHEAP program distributed a total of more than $4.5 billion in home heating assistance to families across the United States, including $100 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding and an additional $1 billion from the government funding package passed in September 2022. Despite the significant federal investment, LIHEAP continues to be underfunded, with just 20 percent of eligible households currently receiving assistance through the program.

Pennsylvania was recently awarded a total of $193,486,298 in LIHEAP funding for this winter, including $190,080,868 in formula funding and an additional $3,405,430 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To assist households seeking to determine their eligibility for LIHEAP funding, HHS recently released a tool in English, Spanish, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese for households to quickly determine their eligibility.

$112K in PA Farm Bill grants for schools

The Philadelphia House Delegation announced that $112,239 in grants has been awarded to schools in the city. The funds, distributed through the PA Department of Agriculture in coordination with the Farm-to-School Grants program, will support projects aimed at facilitating access to healthy, local food and improving nutrition awareness for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

The School District of Philadelphia received a $15,000 grant and South Philly institutions Caring People Alliance and the Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Center were also among the recipients who were given $15,000 grants.

“We are thrilled to welcome these grants for Philadelphia schools. Farm-to-School grants are a remarkable investment. It would help create a solid foundation for a healthy today and future for students,” said chairwoman Morgan Cephas.

Funded projects connect local farmers to schools to supply fresh, in-season products to be served in cafeterias, expanding market opportunities for farmers. Other projects support school gardens, field trips and other hands-on agriculture education, enriching early awareness of career opportunities.

Free help available during holidays

For the 13th year, International School of Coaching’s Master Coach Paula Michele Boyle and her team of trained Life Coach specialists are reaching out to support the community for those feeling frustrated or unsatisfied with their relationships, careers and wellness.

Enjoy a free opportunity to figure out where you are and where you want to go.

The session you will receive with a certified Life Coach is available through New Year’s Day.

There is a 10% discount to those who want to become certified as a Life Coach to help others in need.

To register or learn more, visit ••

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 on Feb. 14.

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 group is led by nurse practitioner June Ro, and will include guest speakers.

To register, contact Ro at 215-707-2619 or ••

Trip to Bethlehem

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum is sponsoring a trip to Bethlehem, “The Christmas City,” from Dec. 14-16.

The tour includes two night accommodations at The Windcreek Hotel and Casino; two $20 vouchers; $70 slot play; a visit to Pines Dinner Theater to see Holly Jolly Christmas, with lunch (BYOB); a tour of “The Lights on the Parkway;” a free day to gamble and shop at the outlets; a visit to the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas shopping and artisans craft markets); and round-trip motorcoach.

The cost is $525 per person double occupancy or $700 single.

For information and reservations, call Theresa Romanowski at 215-922-1700. ••

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. ••

Bingo for a good cause

The Leigh Leckerman Foundation will hold an all-ages bingo on Sunday, Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bristol Moose Lodge, 2229 Radcliffe St. in Bristol.

There will be prizes, raffle baskets and 50-50s.

The cost is $30.

Tables of 10 are available.

Proceeds will benefit the foundation, which assists those in need of financial support for substance use disorder treatment, aftercare and sober housing.

For tickets, visit ••

Apply for artist residency

Glen Foerd is accepting applications for its 2023-2024 Artist-in-Residence program.

The closing date for applications is Dec. 18.

Glen Foerd will be accepting one regional visual artist (or artist collective) to complete a site-specific work during their residency.

The selected artist will receive a stipend of $3,000 to create their works.

Once selected, the Artist-in-Residence will have from Feb. 1, 2024 until Sept. 30, 2024 to complete their residency.

The selected artist will create works that engage Glen Foerd’s audience and collections, which includes architecture, material culture, art and natural landscapes.

The opportunity offers area artists access to Glen Foerd’s historic collections, grounds and the Delaware River.

Outcomes must include a public engagement component.

For application information, visit or email Alice Thompson at ••

Trip to Northern Europe

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is presenting a Northern Europe: Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium and London cruise, July 25 to Aug. 4, 2024, aboard the new “Norwegian Prima.”

Rates per person are $6,261 and $6,495, which include roundtrip airfare from Philadelphia.

Deposit of $350 per person double occupancy is required when booking.

Final payment by Feb. 27.

Call 215-788-9408. ••

Upcoming opera performances

Amici Opera Company will present Verdi’s Don Carlos on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m. at Dock Woods, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale. Puccini’s La Boheme will be performed on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 4 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, 1128 Cottman Ave. Don Carlos will be performed on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 4 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer. Call 215-224-0257 or visit the Amici Opera Company page on Facebook. ••

Book club on Zoom

The Book Club of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will be hosting a Zoom session on Monday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. The January book is The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict. For further information or to register for the book club program, call Lynn Ratmansky at the synagogue office at 215-677-1600. ••