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Bebashi & Urban Angel Foundation Commemorate MLK with Free Health Services

by Meca McKinney
Friday Jan 25, 2013

Bebashi & Urban Angel Foundation brought 200 people together as guests at Jollies Live on Jan. 21, 2012 to commemorate MLK Day and the second consecutive Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The organizations provided a free luncheon, free community services including HIV testing and free mammogram referrals for all women who were uninsured or underinsured.

In addition, voter registration forms were available for those not currently registered. It was a day of service for the elderly and Philadelphia's less fortunate that brought the community closer in celebration, awareness, and prevention.

"This event is the first time Bebashi and Urban Angel Foundation have collaborated. But not the last. It is actually the precursor to our big fundraiser planned for this summer," said William Cobb, executive director of the Urban Angel Foundation, which provided the volunteers to assist with helping Bebashi make this a smoothly run event.

Urban Angel has the mission "to bring urban communities closer to establishing and reaching their goals by being supportive, inspiring, motivational, and encouraging to empower people from urban communities." This support is offered in many different forms including advice, mentoring and access many resources that are available through various foundation programs.

In an effort to ensure that members are positively affected through these efforts, the foundation provides the tools and/or resources to make long term, life-changing results. The Urban Angel Foundation was founded to recruit individuals to participate in skill-based volunteering and pro bono services within urban environments. They provided 30 volunteers for this Day of Service.

Held in the urban setting of Jollies Live, which is located at 822 North Broad Street, this Day of Service was easily accessible to the desired recipients: deserving members of the community. Jollies Live is a sports bar opened in April 2012 with multiple big screen TVs through the space, which displayed the inauguration ceremony and created a setting of casual comfort and ease.

"Giving back to the community in events such as this or by participating in city-wide development is a priority at Jollies Live," said Operations Manager Anthony Kitt.

Some of the recipients, like Reverend Darlene H. Waller of Gallery Baptist who lives at the Star Harbor Senior Center, were bused to the event thanks to the generosity of the organizers. She exclaimed, "It is great to have the opportunity to get the free mammogram referral. I had never had a HIV test before so this means a lot to me. The staff here has been very nice. My friends and I have been treated very well. The inauguration of President Obama was wonderful to watch especially since we are also celebrating Dr. King simultaneously. I never thought I’d see an African-American President of the United States in my lifetime. It has been a very enjoyable day."

Bebashi has been serving the community for 27 years as a "transition to hope." Some of the services they provide the community are free, rapid result HIV testing as well as other sexually transmitted disease testing and guidance. For HIV-positive adults there are wellness meetings, support groups, counseling and psychosocial assessments. Breast health programs, referrals, and workshops partially funded by Susan G. Koman for the Cure are also made available.

Bebashi will provide a "Bosom Buddy" to accompany a client to their breast care appointment and transportation upon request. Another important service from Bebashi is their hunger relief food cupboard of nonperishable food for low-income individuals and families in need at their headquarters at 1217 Spring Garden St, First Floor. A referral letter is required for this service.

Their decision to host this day of community service on the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday highlights the progress made since the beginning of the civil rights movement that Dr. King lead and died for, but it also how much further we still have to go. The disparity of social and health services, readily-available healthy food options, jobs and training and other access to resources for minorities, particularly those in low-income communities is still leading to disease, a cycle of poverty, crime and death every single day.

That the day also spent witnessing the inauguration and paying homage to our first minority American president who has the dream of health coverage was a smart move from Bebashi, Urban Angel and Jollies Live, to bring light to their services, efforts and commitment to the community. During this Day of Service, 107 participants were tested for HIV, four registered to vote and there were 17 mammogram referrals.

"Today was a double celebration!" said Reverend Waller.

Both Bebashi and Urban Angel are always seeking volunteers, advocates and donations.

For info on Bebashi, visit

For info on Urban Angel, visit

Meca McKinney is the lead product designer of Jypsea Leathergoods ( and a serious arts & culture fanatic. She's also a DIY home decor blogger and instructor. Follow her antics on Twitter and IG @theterinanicole.


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