Whosoever Gospel Mission: Spreading Brotherly Love


Free Use Image Courtesy of Picpedia.

If you are a man experiencing homelessness or otherwise disenfranchised in the Germantown area looking for a place to stay for the night, or for a hot meal, you need only look for the glowing ‘Jesus never fails’ sign on the roof of the Whosoever Gospel Mission building on Chelten Ave in Philadelphia.

In the Devotions period on the week of October 4th, Upper School Dean of Students Norman Bayard announced a charity drive for the Whosoever Gospel Mission. The Whosoever Gospel Mission is a charity organization and shelter for the disenfranchised members of the Germantown community.1 When asked about how this charity drive came to be, Norman said “Chris and I live in the northwest, we were talking and [Chris] said, ‘you should call the Whosoever Gospel Mission, I’ve been donating to them for 20 years.’” 

While the main responsibility to execute the drive was put on students, that did not deter other members of the community from joining in and donating. Norman noted that he hoped that more faculty would join in and that he had even heard from some parents who donated to the drive. He also expressed interest in making service opportunities more interwoven into the curriculum, saying: “We have to find more creative ways to do our service during this COVID era… This is going to be a part of who we are as an institution.” 

The community members that the Whosoever Gospel Mission serves are all adult men, although their website notes that one day they hope to serve women and children as well. They are even planning a new residential program for women and their children with a TBD date of completion. The Mission dates back to 1892 and is driven by the idea: “The Mission has shared God’s love with fallen and needy homeless men… by providing meals, lodging, clothing, counseling, training, education, work experience, and other useful help and assistance.”2 Through over a century of service, which included two world wars, the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage, and even a devastating fire at their HQ in 2006, the Mission has remained open and dedicated to serving the community.3

Students had significant time to get their donations in. Acceptable donations were: new socks and underwear, nail clippers, reusable bags, as well as lotion or moisturizer. The final count for those items is as follows: 147 bags, 111 pairs of socks, 62 bottles of lotion, and 147 nail clippers. Before the drive even ended, Norman was happy with the level of donations at the time, saying, “It’s getting there, I hope more staff donate… A parent has spoken to me about donating as well, so I’m happy that the whole community is taking part.”

On Wednesday the 20th, the whole Upper School took part in a service project. The 9th grade class was tasked with preparing the bags to be donated, as well as writing a personalized card to the future recipient of said bag. Physics Teacher and 9th grade Advisor Jillian Waldman said, “As the students and I began sharing our experiences trying to help people experiencing homelessness, the urgency of the crisis and the importance of this work started to become a lot more real for the students.”

Norman also touched on the effect of service and charity for not only the recipient but also the person who donates. He said, “When we do for others, we actually do for ourselves, I hope students get closer to a state of gratitude.”