For 24 years, KenCrest’s Family Fund has helped support thousands through the holiday season in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut.
By Sydney Kerelo
From a young age, Rev. Harvey Davis was passionate and dedicated to helping as many people as possible. He devoted his life to helping others, placing emphasis on gratitude, education, and choosing to see positivity in every situation. He would drop anything and everything to help those in need, whether letting them stay at his home with his family or donating clothing items to them; he was always searching for ways to give back.
Growing up in West Philadelphia during the Depression, Rev. Harvey Davis knew what it was like to struggle. He experienced bias, discrimination, racism, and more, but he never let it affect him. He continued to help others.
For many years, he served his community as a member of KenCrest. He became close with many families in several Philadelphia neighborhoods with limited resources. He wanted to create a way for people to unite and help families experiencing hardships throughout the holidays. So, in 1999, he started the Family Fund—which has since been renamed the Harvey Davis Family Fund.
“He went around to his friends and started getting volunteers and money from donations,” says KenCrest board member Carol Hammarberg. He would do this each year, spreading the word of KenCrest and gathering a list of families in need within the community. And each year, the Fund grew to include more than 200 families as of this year.
Last year, the Family Fund raised more than $30,429 in donations from more than 82 donors. And this year, KenCrest hopes to do more.
Within the past few years, KenCrest has supported numerous families undergoing hardships. Last year, the mother of an Early Learning Center student suffered a stroke and was left paralyzed. She underwent two brain surgeries to help her learn to walk again. But that Christmas, KenCrest was there for them and could give them toys, hats, gloves, coats, and shoes to get them through.
“The Family Fund helps families, like this one, out over the holidays,” says Christaline Camacho, KenCrest’s Family Service Representative. “In our Early Learning Centers, we have ‘Christmas Wish Lists,’ where teachers will choose students they feel will benefit the most, and then that family will receive food, clothes, or toys.”
According to Camacho, KenCrest’s teachers have a strong connection with the families we support, and they are the first ones to know when someone is struggling.
“We don’t advertise that we do the Family Fund yearly,” says Camacho. “We observe and try to engage with the families; we want them to connect with us and share their struggles.”
While each family deserves extra help around the holiday season, KenCrest’s support is limited. Throughout the year, teachers observe and will pick two families from each classroom to include in our Family Fund.
Families receive anything from educational items like books and pencils to toys and winter clothing. The Pennsylvania community can participate by “adopting” a family, sending gifts to KenCrest, or donating cash. Participants can pick from a small (2-3 people), medium (4-6 people), or large family (7+ people) to support, depending on their needs.
“We’re a team at KenCrest; we all pitch in to help support our families,” says Camacho. “If someone needs diapers or extra winter clothing, we are the first to donate.”
Gift deliveries will be accepted between November 27th through December 6th at the KenCrest Corporate Offices (960A Harvest Drive, Ste 100, Blue Bell, PA 19422) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.