As we continue to respond to the
pandemic, we’ve made some changes
and have begun new services so that
we can better serve our partients and
reach out to our community. We’re
grateful for your continued support
and your prayers, which make all of
this possible. Here’s a snapshot of
some of what’s been happening at
Esperanza Health Center over the
past few weeks:

  • We’ve expanded our telehealth
    capacity so our patients can have
    visits at home with their medical,
    dental or behavioral health provider.
    We have also set up separate areas in each of our sites where patients with
    respiratory symptoms similar to COVID-19 and who have other risk factors are
    evaluated and can receive testing for the virus.
  • In late April, we opened anew testing site on Kensington Avenue in
    partnership with Rock Ministries of Philadelphia, where Esperanza staff and
    other volunteers have been working together to serve community members,
    providing evaluations and testing for COVID-19 (story below).


  • Our Department of Community Health and Wellness started a series of
    “Keeping in Touch” videos posted to their department’s Facebook page,
    focused on nutrition, fitness and wellness topics, and they continue to
    distribute food to community members in need.


  • And, our Phoenix Café staff have faithfully served by providing lunches for
    all of our on-site staff members.

Serving Our Kensington Community – EHC
Opens New Testing Site with Rock Ministries!

We’re thankful for our partnership with Rock Ministries of Philadelphia to offer walk-in COVID-19 testing for community members at a new testing site on Kensington Avenue, located in a tent adjacent to Rock Ministries’ main building. The site at 2751 Kensington Avenue is now
open Mondays through Fridays from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. A team of Esperanza clinicians, staff members and volunteers work on a rotating schedule, as together they provide free evaluation and testing for community members who have symptoms of COVID-19, with no appointment required. During the first week at the new site, over 60 community members were evaluated and tested for COVID-19. Esperanza’s Associate Medical Director of Community Health and Wellness, Maryann Salib, DO, MPH (photo above, third from left, together with Lizzie Walker, Community Prevention and Wellness Advocate, and Deb Ortiz-Vasquez, Director of Community Health and Wellness) was interviewed for a recent WHYY article about the site.

Clerical Assistant Josue Garcia, who serves at the new testing site, recently shared some of his reflections: “Upon coming into the tent, one patient mentioned how great it was that Esperanza Health Center and Rock Ministries were serving the people in the area. It is encouraging to know that even in an area as stigmatized as Kensington, in a time in history when people are advised to be socially distant, in a place where people are often forgotten,
there is a growing glimmer of hope. Esperanza and Rock Ministries are working together to bring love, hope and holistic care to Kensington.

Now more than ever, as we continue to respond to the pandemic,we need the support of partners just like you. Through a gift to ourCOVID-19 Relief Fund, you will enable us to provide compassionate, high-quality care for all of our patients via telehealth and on-site visits, to serve community members through our new Kensington testing site and our health and wellness programs offered online, and in many other ways. Thanks also for your prayers that God
will continue to sustain and guide our entire Esperanza staff.

Please contact us at if you have any questions—thank you for being a partner with Esperanza Health Center!

In an article, “Our God is Always Stronger”
published by MedSend, which equips and sends healthcare professionals to underserved areas around the world, Charles Young, CRNP (photo, R), Family Nurse Practitioner at our Kensington site
and MedSend grant recipient, reflected on God’s presence and faithfulness during the pandemic. As Charles shared in a recent update: “It has been clear that God has been at work these past weeks at Esperanza. Despite the separation that comes with dividing up the staff, I believe our teamwork has actually improved over the past week. We’ve had to adjust how we deliver care on a weekly basis and through that process of learning and adapting to changes, we’ve been communicating more and thinking critically together on how to best serve our
patients’ needs. Though I have really missed seeing our other half of the staff at K&A, I look forward to the day when we can all be united!”

Our Behavioral Health Department team
continues to serve our patients through remote
telehealth visits during a time of heightened
stress and uncertainty. Through Esperanza’s
integrated behavioral health model of care, our
behavioral health consultants typically provide
care through brief interventions that take place
when a patient is at one of Esperanza’s sites for a
medical visit. With the pandemic and our shift to
telehealth remote visits, the team has also
needed to adjust the way they provide care—
however, as Jennifer Balsan, LCSW (photo, above L), Behavioral Health
Consultant and Clinical Supervisor, shared recently, there have been many
positives as a result of the transition: “Learning how to provide behavioral
health services via telehealth was challenging, but we are finding it to be very
rewarding. We feel blessed to be able to support our patients during this
difficult time, and we are especially grateful to be able to continue to serve our
patients who are not able to come into the office. It is awesome to see God’s
faithfulness at work in the midst of so much stress and uncertainty!”

Thank You!!!

Many thanks to volunteers from several area churches, including Grace Point in Newtown, PA, Lancaster Presbyterian Church, Langhorne Presbyterian Church, New Life Presbyterian Church
– Glenside and Spirit & Truth Fellowship in North Philadelphia for making hundreds of face masks for distribution to our patients, guests and staff. The spouse of one participant commented to our Volunteer Coordinator, Karen Norris that “this project is today’s Victory Gardens!” referring to the Victory Gardens that were planted by many citizens of the U.S. and other Allied nations during World War II. All of us at Esperanza are grateful for your generosity and support!