The Pulse of CBS Philadelphia: Aug. 28-31

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This week, a community rallied together months after a devastating fire, Philly residents reflected on the March on Washington 60 years later, CBS News Philadelphia capped off celebrating Black Business Month and more. 

Here’s what our team worked on this week: 

Florence Township church damaged in fire, finds new life with Life Center Academy

Five months after a fire destroyed the Fountain of Life Center in Florence Township, students returned to classes for the 2023-24 academic year this week. It was one of the largest fires in Burlington County’s history.

Only CBS News Philadelphia was invited inside as the school welcomed students back on campus.

“We really didn’t know if we were going to be able to return here or not,” Pastor Matthew Boudwin said.

The Life Center Academy was connected to the church and as flames tore through the house of worship, firefighters were able to save the school.

Crews raced against time to get the building ready for classes. 

Students finished last school year in a temporary building in Willingboro, but this is home.

As for the fire, investigators say the cause has been ruled undetermined.

Church leaders are looking ahead and hope to have the church rebuilt in about three years.

Florence Township church desecrated in fire, finds new life with Life Center Academy


March on Washington 60th anniversary

This week marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, a historical moment in our nation’s history during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. 

The march has a special connection to plenty of residents in the Philadelphia region.

Two men who spoke with CBS News Philadelphia’s Natasha Brown attended the march in completely different stages of their lives. 

Reverend Joanne Bradley Jones, the first African-American Episcopal priest in Montgomery County, will never forget the historic day.

A Philadelphia pastor reflected on meeting Martin Luther King Jr. as a young child a few years after the march.  

Two Philly men reflect on March on Washington 60 years later


Black Business Month

All August, CBS Philadelphia celebrated Black Business Month with stories of entrepreneurs all across our region. 

In the heart of West Philadelphia, Mill Creek Urban Farm is thriving and providing fresh produce to the community. The farm works hard to produce foods that reflect the predominantly Black community they serve.

“Collard greens are string beans, so, foods like that, that are central to the African American experience,” Martha Griffin, director at Mill Creek Urban Farm, said. 

Mill Creek has come a long way in the nearly two decades it’s been around.

West Philadelphia urban farm provides fresh produce, community experience


In Chestnut Hill, an art gallery spoke with CBS Philadelphia’s Don Bell about her journey to discovering her passion. 

NoName Gallery, owned by Jonene Lee, is nestled along charming Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. 

The idea to open this quaint multi-room gallery was born during the pandemic. After hosting a series of pop-up art shows, Lee decided to do something a bit more permanent. But the path to entrepreneurship was not an easy one.   

Lee battled addiction for 10 years before opening up her own place. 

And bow, NoName Gallery is really making a name for itself. Lee recently sold a piece to someone you may have heard of, Spike Lee.

NoName art gallery making a name for itself in Chestnut Hill


Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia celebrates its largest-ever simultaneous home dedication

The housing crisis in Philadelphia continues with some people waiting for years to get an affordable home. Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia is working to fill the gap.

The nonprofit celebrated its largest-ever simultaneous home dedication.

Tenaja Hammond could hardly contain her excitement as she was handed the keys to her new $265,000 three-bedroom home.

“I’m ecstatic!” Hammond said. “I got my house!”

She’s among six people who cut ribbons on their new homes on Page Street in North Philadelphia. They bought their homes from Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, a nonprofit that provides subsidized housing to first-time homebuyers.

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia celebrates largest-ever simultaneous home dedication


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