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When in Philadelphia: Do as the Philadelphians Do

This past fall break I had the pleasure of leading one of our service learning trips to the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection. A group of 11 students and one advisor left late Friday night after a long day of classes and arrived in Philly the next afternoon–many miles from home with eyes full of sleep. The ensuing week was a hodgepodge of service at different nonprofits around the area giving our students all kinds of insights into the lives of the people that we worked alongside.

One of the organizations that stood out to me was called Broad Street Ministry where we served lunch with community partners to almost three hundred homeless men and women of Philadelphia inside a converted church.  Serving at Broad Street Ministry was more than just a feel good time for us because we were able to make connections with the patrons.  A man named Kevin pulled out his flute after his meal and serenaded those present with a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and spoke of how he had such a deep passion for music.

We saw many sights and people during our time in Philadelphia.  As a wannabe food critic, I was a man on a mission to find the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia.  Quite the tall order.  But after seven days and seven cheesesteaks, I found my favorite.  In truth, my favorite didn’t come from one of the major advertised establishments such as the competing Geno’s or Pat’s.  Rather it came from just a little nameless unassuming roadside food truck.  Like this extraordinary cheesesteak, most of the organizations that we worked with in Philadelphia were those with humility at their foundation.

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