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Northeast Services Team is looking to expand

NESTco, a nonprofit looking to provide Northeast residents in need with resources, is looking to grow in its second year.

The lineup: Northeast Services Team, also known as NESTco, met on Nov. 16 to elect a new executive board and discuss initiatives going forward. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

Sixteen months ago, organizations and representatives gathered in Star of Hope Church to discuss how to better provide those in need with food, items and shelter.

On Nov. 16, they met again to discuss how far they’ve come, but also how much more they wish to accomplish.

“Despite the myth there’s not a need for such services in the Northeast, there is,” said the Rev. Dr. Hubert Barnes, pastor of the church located in Tacony. “There are needs beyond food insecurity, and we need each other to do a better job.”

Northeast Services Team, also known as NESTco, met to elect a new executive board and discuss initiatives going forward.

To no surprise, everyone who had previously served on the board was re-elected. The board also added Laura Crandall, the food and wellness network program director with Turning Points for Children.

NESTco aims to help people who are lacking in a multitude of necessities. Shelter, food, child welfare and mental health support made up most of the focus for the first year.

Three main initiatives were discussed for the upcoming year. Karen Irwin, a member of the executive board and the community liaison for Friends Hospital, discussed creating a service directory for all types of services in the area so that those in need will have one place to look.

Kevin Lockett, also a member of the executive board and the public affairs and community relations coordinator for Councilman Bobby Henon, discussed trying to create a website for the nonprofit so that information was further accessible.

“That takes money,” he said.

The nonprofit has raised some funds in its first year, mostly from membership fees.

Bob Byrne, a member of the executive board and the Northeast programs director of Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, stressed how important membership was. He said any organization, nonprofit, church, synagogue or for-profit looking to do some good is welcome to join. Email bob@philashelter.org if interested in participating.

Byrne said that they would not turn anyone willing to help away, but they are focusing on the 2nd, 7th, 8th and 15th police districts.

The nonprofit also puts on a monthly speaker series where professionals discuss relevant topics in the area. Time and place change each month.

Originating from a conversation with Henon, the nonprofit has seen huge growth in its first year and is hoping to keep growing. Though he could not attend the meeting, Henon was going to present a check for $3,000, which was given to the nonprofit back in October from the Philadelphia Activities Fund.

Other members of the executive board include Kenneth Bigos, director of the Affordable Housing Centers of Pennsylvania; Mary Doherty, the director of government and strategic partnerships at CORA Services; John Gaynor, managing director of the clinical services division at CORA; Patricia Kennedy, the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank; Tricia Neal, the executive director of Feast of Justice; Mark Novales, one of the founders of CityReach Church Philly; and Danette Ray, senior pastor of the Kingdom Life Christian Center.

In other news:

Catholic Community Services is hosting several events for the holidays. The fourth annual Operation BundleUp is set for Saturday, Dec. 2, at the St. William Social Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coats and winter accessories for children in need will be distributed.

The organization will also host a Special Needs Resource Fair at Rhawnhurst Presbyterian Church hall, at 7701 Loretto Ave., on Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees will be able to obtain information on services, resources and supports on autism, Asperger’s, Crohn’s and colitis, diabetes and developmental and hearing disabilities.
For more information on both events, contact Lisa Shousky at 215–519–8942 or Shanick Rodriguez at 215–678–2915.

Take Back Your Neighborhood will host a Saturday with Santa on Dec. 2. at the Max Myers Playground. Children will receive a gift, candy and a picture with Santa for $5. All proceeds will go toward Take Back Your Neighborhood. Contact Sharyn Solomon at 215–813–9806 for more information.

The Tacony Library had a soft opening Monday, Nov. 20. It will celebrate its reopening on Saturday, Dec. 2. ••

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