Broken hand-washing stations removed from Kensington Avenue, moving to Brewerytown

Robinson Waste employee Ed Flores removes one of the hand-washing stations on Kensington Avenue near Somerset Street on May 28, 2020. (Photo by Claire Wolters)

Two broken hand-washing stations at Kensington Avenue and Somerset Street were removed on Thursday in response to neighborhood complaints that they were a hazard to the community. 

The hand-washing stations, which were rented by Broad Street Ministry and serviced by Robinson Waste, will be repaired and moved to Brewerytown Garden at the intersection of 27th and Master Streets. The stations were one of 15 that the faith-based social services provider had installed across the city in early March as a preventative measure for coronavirus.

“As more resources closed [due to COVID-19], we wanted to provide people with some level of preventative measures if they can’t wash their hands at home,” said Nicole McDonald, Broad Street Ministry’s director of community relations. 

According to McDonald, Broad Street Ministry has requested stations with larger water capacity that would allow them to last longer between servicing appointments. If they are able to get them, they will consider putting them at Kensington and Somerset again, she said. 

During the last few months, the ministry has received numerous requests for stations from community organizations and homeless service providers throughout the city, McDonald said. They currently have a waitlist. 

“We’ve done our best to get them where the need is,” McDonald said.

On Thursday, Robinson Waste also installed a new hand-washing station at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, Philadelphia’s largest men’s shelter, which is located in Center City. At the beginning of May, Sunday Breakfast experienced a coronavirus outbreak and those who were quarantined following that outbreak returned to the shelter on May 22. 

Brewerytown Garden is next on Broad Street Ministry’s waitlist and will receive two stations, including the station from Kensington Avenue when repairs are complete. The community garden will use it for their Farmers to Families Food Box program as a cleanliness measure for guests and volunteers during the food distribution process. 

According to McDonald, Broad Street Ministry hopes that the station will be easier to maintain in the Brewerytown location because it can be monitored by an organization that is open and available to monitor it. The station at Kensington Avenue and Somerset Street was more prone to breakages because it was not located near a partner organization, McDonald said. 

The majority of Broad Street Ministry’s hand washing stations are at or near partner organizations. The 15 locations include:

  • Two stations at Broad Street Ministry, located at 315 South Broad St.
  • One station at South Street Community Garden, located at 839 South St.
  • One station at 1700 Block of East-Bound Vine Street.
  • Two stations at Bethesda Place, located at 907 Hamilton St.
  • One station at Catholic Worker Clinic, located at 1813 Hagert Street.
  • Two stations at Prevention Point, located at 2913 Kensington Ave.
  • One station at the Hub of Hope’s Sunken Plaza, located at 1401 JFK Blvd.
  • Two stations at Philly FIGHT testing site, located at 2653 Kensington Ave.
  • One station at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, located at 302 N. 13th Street.
  • Two stations at Brewerytown Community Garden, located at 27th and Master Streets.

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.

Editor: Jillian Bauer-Reese / Designer: Jillian Bauer-Reese / Translator: N/A

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