University City Hospitality Coalition

1984-2018 - Over thirty years of service to the homeless and hungry in University City

University City Hospitality Coalition - PMB 410, 3720 Spruce Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 610-639-4395

UCHC Toiletries Distribution
Meals Schedule Services Board Gifts of Food History

The University City Hospitality Coalition is funded solely by donations. Please donate today via the PayPal link below. If you wish to donate by check, please make your check out to UCHC and send it to 441 S. 44th St., Philadelphia, 19104. Our United Way Donor Option Number is 09178. Thank you!

Our Mission

• Providing hot meals five nights a week and sandwiches at noon on Saturdays •
• Encouraging respect and mutual cooperation among its guests and volunteers •
• Involving guests in significant roles such as maintaining order, helping with clean-up, and providing community news and information about support services and opportunities available to the UCHC community •
• Offering additional services, including medical, legal, and dental clinics, which are available at the Wednesday meal site •
• Referring guests to shelter spaces, alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, mental health programs, job training programs, and programs for special interest groups such as veterans through an outreach social worker from Horizon House •
• Enabling guests to receive mail and exercise their right to vote by making UCHC’s mailbox available to anyone who needs a mailing address •
• Establishing working relationships with other agencies and programs that provide services for poor and homeless people to better achieve its mission •

For questions regarding group volunteering (groups under 4 people only) or sponsoring a meal, call 610-639-4395.

Undergraduates interested in helping out at the UCHC Medical Clinic Wednesday nights should consult this page.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Hillel Soup Kitchen, please email to sign up for a shift.

If you would like more information about volunteering at any of the other sites, please email us at

If you have a group that wants to help UCHC but realize that you are too many to assist at a meal
(i.e., more than three), please consider (a) making sandwiches to be passed out on a Saturday or (b) making decorated bags of sweets or (c) splitting into groups of 3 (or 4) and bringing fruit to a meal.
(a) We make approximately 110 meat sandwiches (usually a turkey product of some kind because
some people don't eat pork for health or religious reasons). In addition, we add a small snack, such as peanut butter or cheese crackers, to the baggie and hand out a soda to each guest. We store the sandwiches in two large plastic garbage bags. Sandwiches should be delivered to the kitchen at St Mary's Church Thursday evening between 4:30 and 7:00 or Thursday or Friday between 10 and 2 at the Church office.
(b) Our guests find great pleasure in individually decorated (white) paper bags containing candy, cookies, nuts and other treats. We like to have at least 80 to ensure that every guest gets one. These can be brought to any meal and handed out by two or three of you as an extra treat or you can substitute your cookies (unbagged) or flat cakes (already cut) for our ordinary evening’s dessert, provided they arrive at the meal site by 5:30. Or they can be dropped off at St Mary's during office hours or delivered to a mutually convenient spot. In any case, be sure to check with us the day before (call 610-639-4395).
(c) Recently we have added fruit to our dinner menu about once a week to the delight of our guests, and we encourage groups of 3 (or 4) to come to any meal with enough fruit for 80 folk (for example: 2 medium watermelons or a watermelon plus 4-5 cantaloupes). You can then cut up the fruit and pass it out after the guests have been served the main meal. Whole bananas are also welcome as long as they aren't completely green, and oranges and clementines are good choices, too. (Apples and other hard fruits are not as helpful because some of our guests have tooth and gum problems.) Please let us know a day in advance if you plan to do this.

Back to top.


We distribute a package of toiletries to each guest on the last Wednesday of the month (the meal at which the number of guests is typically the highest). Each package consists of the following items.

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lip Balm
  • Tissues

We welcome donations of these toiletries and would be more than happy to discuss with any potential donor the specifics of any donation plan. Please contact tfaver at(@) to plan such a donation or to generate an alternate plan.

For more detail, please see this page.


We periodically distribute clothing on the last Wednesday of the month. We encourage the donations of t-shirts and socks as detailed below. You are welcome to stay for the meal and help distribute clothing. We can also combine your donation with other supplies.

T-shirts. Our guests typically wear sizes L and up with frequent requests for XL, XXL and XXXL. We will set up a station at which guests can pick out their preferred sizes, colors, and materials (so no need to bag T-shirts). 60 to 70 T-shirts are needed to have enough for a distribution.

Socks. The type of socks you choose to supply will dictate their cost and thus how many you can provide. In general, a package (organized in a ziploc bag) should consist of 2 to 3 pairs of socks, and we need 60 to 70 packages for a distribution. Wool socks are particularly welcomed during the winter (but are commensurately more expensive), while cotton socks are good during the warmer months.

Questions? Interested in providing a donation? Contact Tim at tfaver “at”

Back to top.

Meal Schedule

Please note that some of the locations have changed as of June 1, 2017.

  • Sunday - Hillel Foundation - 215 South 39th Street (6:00 p.m.) - See * below for details.
  • Monday - University Lutheran Church - 37th and Chestnut Streets (6:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday - Episcopal Cathedral - 38th and Ludlow (red door) (6:00 p.m.)
  • Thursday - St. Mary's Church - 3916 Locust Walk (6:00 p.m.)
  • Friday - Woodland Presbyterian Church - 42nd and Pine Streets (6:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday - Sandwiches - 3916 Locust Walk (12:00 p.m.)
  • During school breaks (especially summer) volunteers are needed Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the evening meal.

    For photographs of the entrance areas of these mealsites, please see this page.

    For the UCHC Code of Conduct, please click here.

    * This school year the Hillel Sunday meal, which is not offered on Jewish holidays or College breaks, will be served on September 10 and 17; October 22, and 29; November 5, 12, and 19; December 3 and 10; January 14, 21, and 28; February 4, 11, 18, and 25; March 18; April 15 and 22.


    Please note: There are other meal sites in Philadelphia, and a list of those of which we are aware may be found here.


    Back to top.

    UCHC Services

    • Hot meals five nights a week and sandwiches on Saturday for poor and homeless persons in West Philadelphia

    • A medical clinic staffed by doctors and medical students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine is provided at the Wednesday meal.

    • A dental clinic staffed by dental students and dentists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry is also provided at the Wednesday meal.

    • A legal clinic staffed by law students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law is also provided at the Wednesday meal.

    • A mailing address for homeless persons who need a permanent address to vote and to receive welfare checks, medical cards, and other mail

    • Referral services for shelter, housing, food, and clothing

    Back to top.

    2018 UCHC Board of Directors

  • Beverly Cowart, President 2018-20 -
  • Julie Bokreta, Vice President for Charitable Giving 2018-20
  • Bob Weber, Meal Coordinator 2018-20
  • Allison Kulesher, Treasurer 2018-20
  • Richard Hamilton, Secretary 2018-20 -
  • Pamela Nesbit, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral Representative
  • Julia Snyder, City Church Representative
  • Barbara Tobin, St. Mary's Episcopal Church Representative
  • Allison Kulesher, Villanova Representative
  • Sarah Hill, Member at Large
  • Community Liaisons

  • Jeremy Jones: Medical Clinic Coordinator
  • Anna Marion, Robert Thrasher: Legal Clinic Coordinators
  • Andrew Ng: Dental Clinic Coordinator
  • Orly Arbit: Hillel Coordinator
  • Timothy Faver: St. Agatha Representative
  • For information about board meeting dates and times,
    send email to

    Clinic activities:

    UCHC Clinic Services
    (Wednesdays Woodland Presbyterian Church at 42nd and Pine)

    Medical Clinic (5:30-7:00)

  • Blood pressure and blood glucose readings
  • PPD reading (by physician 6:30; bring paperwork)
  • Vitamins for adults & children
  • Physician visit (after history and physical by med student)
  • Some Prescriptions filled (after physician visit)
  • Podiatry services on site every other month (Jan. 24, Mar. 21, May 23, July 25, Sept. 26, Nov. 21)
  • Other follow-up referrals (e.g. dental work, hypertension, dermatology)
  • Dermatology residents available last week of month
  • Connections to social services
  • Health insurance
  • Food stamps
  • Doctors' appointments
  • Dental Clinic (6:00-7:00)

  • Faculty conduct oral hygiene evaluations and oral cancer screenings
  • Referrals to dental schools
  • Free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
  • Collaboration with medical clinic to treat infections and abscesses
  • Studying the impact of community outreach on oral health outcomes
  • Legal Clinic (6:00-7:00)

  • Birth certificates
  • Rent rebates
  • Taxes
  • LIHEAP (energy payment assistance)
  • Social Security Insurance
  • Other civil legal needs
  • (For court cases go to Community Legal Services (CLS), 1424 Chestnut Street. 215-981-3700.)

    Back to top.

    Gifts of Food

    UCHC is frequently asked if it can use fresh and non-perishable food items. Since we prepare meals for upwards of 100 guests at a sitting, we cannot use food packaged in domestic sizes. However, we are happy to refer you to food cupboard sites that serve University City and West Philadelphia. (UCHC is not responsible for the accuracy of this information, but we do try to keep it current so please let us know if it is out of date.)

    For any food: (a) Fresh Start: Derek Felton, 215-769-0659 ext. 106 or; (b) First African Presbyterian Church Food Cupboard, 4159 W. Girard Ave: Nate Maybin 215-254-4681 or 215-477-3100 (ask for Nate or Geri).

    For non-perishable food only: (a) St. Barnabas Mission, 6006 West Girard Ave. : Kitchen Coordinator, 215-528-5147; (b) Calvin Presbyterian Church, 5931 Master Street, 215-877-7711; and (c) The Church of the Holy Apostles and the Mediator, 51st and Spruce Streets: 215-472-3000, 10 AM - 2 PM weekdays (distribution every other Thursday).

    Brief History of the University City Hospitality Coalition

    In October 1984 on a very cold night, Stanley Biddle, a homeless man who was a familiar figure on the University of Pennsylvania campus, froze to death after falling asleep near 38th Street. In response, a small group of students, clergy, and local residents came together to confront the bleak and tragic realities of homelessness in their own community. This group formed the University City Hospitality Coalition (UCHC).

    The first action of the group was to offer one "meal of hospitality" per week that would be open to anyone and everyone who came through their doors. To operate, the founders of UCHC informally solicited donations and recruited helping hands from churches, colleges, and neighborhood organizations. In time, UCHC grew to offer additional evening meals and lunchtime sandwiches on Saturdays, as well as a variety of other support services. Incorporated in 1987, today UCHC is a federally recognized nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status.

    UCHC receives no city, state, or federal money to support its programs. Primary funding sources are donations from individuals and religious institutions, and the United Way Donor Option program.

    Back to top.

    last update: 20 December 2017