EHC Sock Drive: A Gift of Hope and Help for Our Community
Esperanza Staff Receive COVID Vaccine
Special Feature: Esperanza Welcomes
Katharine DeSouza
EHC Celebrates 90-year-old Patient
Connect with us for more information


As you may have noticed, today Esperanza Health Center officially launches our new and improved digital newsletter!

We are grateful for your support in the past and throughout all of 2020. This year we aspire to bring you stories that reflect hope, have great impact, and can bring a smile to your face.

Please visit our News page for monthly uploads and to read previous issues.


Esperanza Health Center

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Our Mission:
“Compelled by the love of God in Christ Jesus, in cooperation with the Church and others, Esperanza Health Center is a multi-cultural ministry providing holistic healthcare to the Latino and underserved communities of Philadelphia.”

EHC Sock Drive

A Gift of Hope and Help for Our Community

As part of the Christmas planning committee at Esperanza, Wilma Lebron, Community Programs Coordinator for our Community Health & Wellness department, decided she wanted to give the gift of hope to the Kensington community a little differently for the holidays. With this in mind, Wilma and Emily Pagán, HR Generalist at Esperanza, paired up to spearhead the event.

My mind automatically went to service, especially during Christmas time where it’s always good to do something for others and recognize our place in the community,” said Wilma after expressing her commitment to this great responsibility.

She proposed that a sock drive should be coordinated at all EHC locations with the help of Pamela Draper from Mural Arts Philadelphia, a public figure in charge of distributing the donated items on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the storefront of the Kensington Corridor. 

“We did a little research and learned that socks and hygiene products are the main resources in need for our displaced community,” expressed Wilma. “Unfortunately, many don’t have shoes so they walk around in socks and those will get dirty pretty quickly. Socks tend to be the number one thing they will ask for.”

Our staff responded well to the need, delivering all bins nearly full. Still, some staff members have continued to donate more items and it appears that the drive is an ongoing commitment. Said Wilma: “For me, it was like an out-of-body experience! Despite COVID, it has given me a unique experience being at a new job, and I was honored to serve on the committee. It was really satisfying to see an idea that I contributed to come to fruition.”

Esperanza Staff Receive COVID Vaccine

On January 4th, Esperanza Health Center received the first shipment of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines which was given to our staff and frontline healthcare workers. The medical providers quickly sprung to action and received their first dose (photo).

We know many of our patients are interested in receiving the vaccine. As of the date of this eNews, the timeline is uncertain as to when we will be able to offer vaccines to our patients who are now eligible to receive them. We plan to notify everyone with updates to our website often – please visit the COVID vaccine information and resources page. We would ask that Esperanza Health Center patients please not call our main number with questions about the vaccine or to make a vaccine appointment – patients should instead visit our website for updates, and we will contact patients to ask if they wish to receive the vaccine. The process of providing vaccines for all of our patients, and in our city and nationally, will take many months – thanks for your patience.

For additional COVID information and resources, please visit our website:

Blair Vanderkin, RN, triage nurse, administers the vaccine to Jen Rice, clinical supervisor.

EHC’s head nurse, Sandra Collazo-Lopez, RN, after receiving her vaccine!

Family medicine physician Dominic Derenge, DO receives his vaccine.

COVID Vaccine Support

Volunteers WANTED!


Volunteers are urgently sought to provide vaccination support for Esperanza Health Center sites in Hunting Park and Kensington.

These volunteers will assist with registering, screening, educating, and monitoring persons who receive a COVID vaccine. Skills needed:
  • Applications are accepted from those who speak only English, though bilingual (Spanish-English) preferred  
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer literacy
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Dependability
To learn more about this and other volunteer opportunities at Esperanza Health Center, please visit our website at, which is updated regularly.

Special Feature: Esperanza Welcomes Katharine DeSouza

Katharine DeSouza, RD, LDN, joined Esperanza in 2020 as a Registered Dietitian. She likes to be associated by her nickname ‘Kitty’ since she has gone by that name since kindergarten. Kitty grew up in a small town in the mountains of New Hampshire, and describes her childhood as being “surrounded by God’s majesty.” She graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, where she chose to pursue studies in healthcare after noticing how a lack of access to resources affected the lives of people she knew.

Her decision to work in nutrition came after experiencing how food insecurity affects the holistic wellbeing of a person. Kitty’s passion is to use food to help people feel well and whole while lowering their chances of chronic illness.

“I started working at Esperanza Health Center as an intern and enjoyed working so closely with the patient population. I felt drawn to Esperanza’s mission of caring for patients through Christ and felt that God had led me to work here.”

For her future patients, Kitty shares how she would like to make living a healthy lifestyle achievable and sustainable for every person. Her personal goal is to help people feel empowered by their own health choices. Fun fact: She has family who lives all across the U.S. and who have visited/traveled through 25 states.

EHC Celebrates 90-year-old Patient

By Amy Liao, DDS, Dentist

When I saw her on the schedule and that she was turning 90 that month, I knew we had to do something to recognize this milestone, in contrast to the backdrop of a grief-filled 2020. It is rare that I see patients over age 80, and phenomenal to see a patient in their 90s, especially when our community’s average life expectancy is lower than the national average.

Since we were trying to maintain social distance, I invited coworkers to email any

birthday greetings or encouraging scriptures for her, which I could transfer to a card. Some dental team members presented the card to her (along with an EHC water bottle!) a few days before her actual birthday. She told me before that she was in line at EHC’s grand opening 31 years ago – one of the first patients!