At the corner of 34th and Brandywine streets is an abandoned church, a sight not uncommon in Philadelphia. However, this church isn’t being left to rot until someone scoops up the property for development.
New Hope Primitive Baptist Church, which shut its doors last October, is now under the control of I Am Focused Inc. This Philadelphia charity has acquired the building as a physical location for its operations, which include basketball events and documenting children’s abduction cases.
The church, which was only operating two weeks a month before it closed its doors, is in need of repairs to its roof before it can be used. To raise funds, and also engage the community, I Am Focused co-founder Mike Richmond is grilling outside the closed church three days a week.
“We’re also getting money from the government and stuff like that, but that’s going to take a while,” Richmond said. “I can’t operate the church until we get the roof done and the inside.”
The plans for the property are much more ambitious than simple office space.
“The basement will be a computer lab for kids and adults to come in,” Richmond said. “Also, we’re going to have a lounge, the lounge will be upstairs for kids that don’t have anything to do.”
So far, the group said it feels welcomed by the community.
“It’s been awesome, they’re embracing us with a lot of love. It’s tremendous, it’s a blessing,” said Ryan Wells, who was assisting Richmond.