Meal Appeal

The 12th Annual Mardi Gras Party and Silent Auction will assist numerous Old Pine Community Center ventures, notably the breakfast-centric SHINE Program.

Since joining the staff of Old Pine Community Center, 401 Lombard St., in November 2008, April Thomas Jones identified homelessness and food insecurity as pressing topics to tackle. Through Friday’s 12th Annual Mardi Gras Party and Silent Auction, the executive director of the Society Hill-situated haven will continue to call on “the human factor” to reduce those burdens, with the benefit set to be a particular boon to the location’s SHINE initiative.

“When it comes to providing food for those struggling to have consistent nutrition, breakfast often registers as the neglected meal,” Thomas Jones said. “I think we all could gain something from partaking in a community meal, and that’s the spirit behind SHINE.”

In its third year, the brainchild finds Old Pine Community Center teaming with the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity to offer a Sunday sit-down breakfast for the city’s homeless and low-income inhabitants. Complementing the edibles with clothing stations and space for attendees to shower, Thomas Jones holds that she and her colleagues strive to diminish obstacles by stressing the power of fellowship. For the 6:30-10 p.m. party and auction, then, every minute will focus on inclusivity and positivity so as to strengthen the weekend constant’s reach.

“SHINE is vital to who we are because camaraderie and acceptance are at the heart of what it stands for,” Thomas Jones said. “We’re going to be reinforcing that through an awesome evening that will include something, in fact many things, for everyone to enjoy.”

She gladly ticked off magicians; caricature artists; hula hoop artists; New Orleans-inspired musicians; catering selections from South Philly’s Catahoula Bar & Restaurant; silent auction treasures such as autographed memorabilia from World Cup champion Julie Ertz and her Super Bowl-winning husband, Zach; and libations from the Philadelphia Brewing Co. as draws. First District Councilman Mark Squilla will be on hand, too, to present the site’s community award.

“I’m a community person, so I love that our Mardi Gras parties and silent auctions have become big events on the calendars of so many people,” Thomas Jones said. “There are often so many barriers that our served populations face along their journeys. We can never lose sight of the fact that we can break those barriers together. Through the SHINE program, especially when we look to build our volunteer pool, we’re fond of stressing that you’re likely to make a friend when you join us. I feel the same way about those who come to our Mardi Gras event.”

  • Mardi Gras Party and Silent Auction
  • Friday, February 21, 2020 from 6:30-10 p.m.
  • Old Pine Community Center, 401 Lombard St. (Parking available on the 400 and 500 blocks of Lombard Street)
  • Tickets are $15 for children ages 2-15; $40 presale; $50 at the door. Tickets are available at the location’s front desk; by phone at 215-627-2493; or through