Photo: Members of the Salt and Light Congregation ready food parcels distributed weekly at The Common Place at 58th and Chester. Addressing endemic food insecurity is just one of the services at TCP which will now be better safeguarded through a PA state grant just announced.
By Ted Behr
The Common Place is the recipient of a $75,000 state grant for security enhancements. The award was announced today by State Representative Joanna McClinton who represents the Kingsessing area of Southwest Philadelphia where TCP is located.
“This is phenomenal!” was the response of Wayne Presbyterian Elder Doug McBrearty, one of the founders of the community center. The Common Place is the home of both the vibrant, new Salt and Light congregation and our WPC CityLights Ministry. Salt and Light is the result of the merger of New Spirit Community Presbyterian Church and Faith Christian Fellowship.
Responded Rev. Cean James, pastor of Salt and Light congregation, “We are very grateful for the work of Rep. Joanna McClinton and Sen. Vincent Hughes who do so much to care for our communities.
“Especially during COVID-19, Rep. McClinton has been a major driver in making sure Southwest Philly is not forgotten, making certain that life-saving information, testing, PPE, and vaccines are available to the community members. This is so important. And now, the collective efforts of Representative McClinton and Senator Hughes are just the latest example of their respective commitments to partner not only with The Common Place and the Salt & Light Church but also this resilient community who is doing the work to improve the safety and security of children, families, and all who live, work, and worship in this wonderful neighborhood.”
“As a parent, I care deeply about the children that come into this space,” added Rev. Christopher J. Holland II, director of the Common Place. “I understand intimately the concerns of this community’s families wanting to know how we are keeping their children safe when they come here to learn. As we expand our programming and work to update our infrastructure, this grant will help us to give families, congregants, staff, and constituents peace of mind. This grant gives our people one less thing to worry about.”
From TCP development manager, Gene J. Burke, “The concerns and prayers we have for the safety and success of Southwest Philadelphia extend beyond the walls of this building to her families and residents. Helping to make this corner a safer place for everyone helps to lay the foundation for community partnerships that will result in a thriving Southwest Philadelphia. We are grateful for this opportunity that will help to make this happen.”
“When we began to plan and develop The Common Place eight years ago, little did we know some of the things that the Holy Spirit had in mind,” continued McBrearty. “Glory be to God.”
Rep. McClinton, herself the pastor of a local church and Democratic legislative leader of the House in Harrisburg applauded the funding which was made possible through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. She indicated that it can be used for various security improvements, including safety and security planning, security-related technology, such as metal detectors, protective lighting and surveillance equipment, threat awareness and response training.
“The Common Place is a critical resource that provides care and assistance to so many across southwest Philly,” said Rep. McClinton. “Investing in their safety is investing in the safety of our young people and the families who turn to the nonprofit for educational, social and spiritual support…The Common Place and other local organizations like it that play crucial roles in moving our neighborhoods forward.”
The TCP grant is part of the $5 million announced yesterday by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to fund security enhancement projects for 130 churches, synagogues and other nonprofit organizations serving diverse communities across Pennsylvania.
(Information for this article was provided by Chris Caracino of the PA State House of Representatives)