Mount Airy Church of God: Serving the Community of Philadelphia

Mt. Airy Church of God

Mt. Airy Church of God

Two young men were called by God to the same church in Philadelphia to help serve the community. These two men did not know that they would work so well together and it would feel like they had worked together before. These two men are Deacon Johnson and his right hand man Ryan Neal. Neal said:”When I first got here I met him (Deacon Johnson) and we just seemed to click.” These two men work together giving back to the community at Mount Airy Church of God located on the corner of Stenton Ave and Ogontz Ave. This is the church I visited with my group and we learned that these two men were brought together for a reason and that reason was to help out the community of Philadelphia who needed it most.

Deacon Johnson’s right hand man Ryan Neal first came to this church about 14 years ago and Johnson was not too far behind at 10 years ago. Both of these men were not necessarily looking to work together, but God had other plans for them. Neal said that whenever there was an event at the Church he would always side with Deacon Johnson and do whatever was asked of him to help out. Even though these two had never met, it had felt like they had been working with each other for years.

What exactly does Mt. Airy Church of God do to give back to the community? The church organizes many different events to give back. They do clothes drives, collecting warm clothes for those who need them in the winter. They do a monthly food drive, collecting various different types of food and produce and distributing to those who need it most in the area. However they do not just give out this food for free. “We give out the spiritual food before we give out the materials, you have to give them the Word” says Neal. They do not turn any person away either. If someone shows up and asks for food or clothes they are going to give them food or clothes. That is just how Mt. Airy Church of God works.

Mt. Airy Church has been involved in the La Salle LGU Easter Food Drive for the past two years now. Deacon Johnson did have an interesting story on how their first year in the Easter Food Drive. “Last year we were the last ones on the last, but La Salle could not get in touch with some of the people who were supposed to be receiving food so they said we could have all the food that was left on the truck. We were blessed.” This year was just as successful at Mt. Airy Church of God. Deacon Johnson said he really appreciated what La Salle was doing for the community and said that this year they really focused more on giving out healthier foods to the community.

When asked about who this food drive was impacting the most in the community, Deacon Johnson pointed towards an interesting group of people. Johnson said he believed this food drive was really benefiting the elderly. He said that since they have trouble getting out that it is harder for them to get to the grocery store and get the healthy foods and produce they need. With this food drive it makes it easier for them to get these healthy foods and it really has a big impact on that community. The elderly obviously were not the only ones in the community who benefit from this Easter Food Drive. This helps the community as a whole. In a community like this one it may be hard for people to afford the nutritious food they need and they may just settle for unhealthy foods like we heard Dr. Goldbacher say when she spoke to us. When Deacon Johnson and Ryan Neal were asked if they would be partaking in the Easter Food Drive for a third year they both responded emphatically with Yes!

Mt. Airy Church of God has also worked with the Exploring Nutrition program for the past couple years and especially enjoys their mission to make this a more healthy and happy community. Deacon Johnson does regret that he has not attended as many meetings with this program as he would like to, but definitely plans on continuing to be a part of it.

Mt. Airy Church of God was a very welcoming place to go to and it shows with their service to the community of Philadelphia. They are a big part of the La Salle Easter Food Drive and I am glad that they will be part of it again next year. The La Salle Easter Food Drive and Mt. Airy Church of God are certainly doing their parts on giving back to the community they live in. Deacon Johnson could not put this any better: “To be able to come together and work as a team and to be able to provide food for a larger part of the city is a great task.”


College Students Can Eat Healthy?


Professor Henstenberg

visited La Salle journalism class to discuss healthy eating.


As we know most of the time college students are either doing work for class, eating food, or out somewhere partying. One thing a college student may take forgranted is eating healthy and maintaining a good nutritious diet. La Salle Professor Jule Ann Henstenberg wants to make sure not only students, but everyone in the surrounding La Salle neighborhood can maintain a healthy diet. Professor Henstenberg is the Director of the Nutrition Program here at La Salle University and says she has been learning about nutrition for 35 plus years.

What did Professor Henstenberg have to say about the current area surrounding La Salle regarding its health and nutrition? Henstenberg said that before Fresh Grocer opened, the selection of nutritious food was rare and the area could be described as a food desert. The La Salle Professor did hint that this problem has not yet been fixed, but she would like to work toward making this a better neighborhood for food selection. The best way to put it is how Henstenberg said: “Part of my goal here is to make access easier.” This is exactly the goal she is working to in this area and hopes to one day accomplish this.


La Salle Food Drive

This year was another year for the annual La Salle Easter Food Drive. The idea of this soundslide I made is to tell what it is all about and to raise awareness of a good cause. Take a look and listen to see the churches and food organizations that were helped out by students of La Salle University.

Exploring Psychology?


Edie Goldbacher is a clinical health psychology professor at La Salle University and could be the newest addition to the Exploring Nutrition program. Goldbacher has always been interested in treating obesity and has even come up with a treatment for “emotional eaters.” She first came to La Salle four years ago and currently runs a clinic with students in the doctoral program called Healthy Eating Healthy Weight Clinic.

The clinic Goldbacher runs is for people struggling with eating disorders and those who are struggling with obesity. This clinic includes weekly weigh-ins, nutrition education and physical activities. It provides low cost sliding scale services and caters to individual needs of those local community members with eating and weight difficulties.The treatments usually last up to 12 weeks for groups and they have a 20 week flexible manual for individual cases. These clinics are run by students in the doctoral program, but there is a professional clinician supervising them.

The Healthy Eating Healthy Weight Clinic does need a little help to get the word out. Goldbacher said that most people in the community hear about it by word of mouth and through other community members good experiences at the clinic. When asked if Goldbacher has heard of the Exploring Nutrition Program and La Salle she said that she has and would be interested in connecting her own clinical program with the Exploring Nutrition Program.


SNAP Crackle Pop!

The purpose of this blog is to explore nutrition in the Philadelphia area. One reason nutrition does not come easy in some parts of Philadelphia is because not everyone can afford to be picky and choose expensive nutritious things to eat. This is where the SNAP program comes in. SNAP is an acronym that stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service website, SNAP “offers assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.” Basically the main idea of SNAP is to help those with low incomes build a budget where they can spend their money wisely on nutritious foods. This seems to me what the La Sallian program of Exploring Nutrition seems to be all about. Only time will tell if SNAP actually can help or if people will take advantage of such a system (yes there are people that do that). SNAP looks like a program that could be very helpful to improving the nutrition of the Philadelphia area.

Food Around Town

Today I visited four different food options that people of North Philadelphia have to choose from and found some very interesting results. I set out on my journey with my Iphone 5, that has an eight mega pixel camera, with no idea of what to expect. My first idea is to look at one of the local corner grocery stores that I always pass and wonder if this is where many locals shop for their families,grocery store that I stopped at was a local corner deli store as pictured below.


This deli was not very pleasing to the eye and the inside was not somewhere that would fulfill the nutritious needs of a family. There were a lot of fried food options and not too many healthier options. This made me want to see just what other options there were for food around North Philadelphia. The next thing I ran into was a New China pictured below that was a little bit more healthy, but was still just fast food and would not be the nutrition a family would need.



Along with the Chinese food, there were all kinds of snacks and cigarettes and all kinds of things kids were lining up to buy right after they got out of school. The next place I came across as I drove up Broad St. was a McDonalds that I did not even know existed. McDonalds does have some healthy options, but once again not something that can help with nutrition.




The last food option I looked into was a local food truck parked right outside on Olney Avenue. It has all kinds of deep fried food and cheesesteaks and everything you could imagine, but not too many healthy options besides a few things of fruit or a salad. 



The service at the lunch truck was good, but the nutrition here and all around North Philadelphia was lacking. I know I only looked into 4 places, but all of these places seemed to lack in nutrition. I think that the Exploring Nutrition program can definitely benefit North Philadelphia for the better and hopefully will do so in the near future.

First Post

Welcome to Philly Food where I will be looking into a La Salle program called exploring nutrition. My name is Connor Walsh and here is a little bit about me in my first post before I start getting down to business next week. I am currently a first semester senior at La Salle University and am studying Communication. I am double tracking in Mass Media and Journalism. I just hope to either do something in radio or journalism. Currently I am interning at 88.5 WXPN in Philadelphia and from time to time write articles for the La Salle Collegian newspaper