Healthy Communities

Healthy Communities, a partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, increases the library’s capacity to offer free, accessible cooking, physical activity, gardening and mindfulness programming at neighborhood libraries throughout Philadelphia. Program offerings range from African-diaspora inspired cooking classes to senior fitness classes to gardening workshops about native plants. Programs priorities are based on feedback from community members.

In October 2018, Community Chef Training was offered at Lillian Marrero Library in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia. This free, four-day workshop equipped a cohort of community members with the skills and certifications to lead low-cost, culturally-appropriate culinary demos. The Community Chefs continue to lead cooking demonstrations at neighborhood libraries.

Home Gym Kits will be available for lending at six neighborhood libraries! Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, Lillian Marrero Library, Overbrook Park Library, Richmond Library, South Philadelphia Library, and Tacony Library will host strength training workshops to complement their Home Gym Kit materials. The kit will give community members access to a yoga mat, resistance band, and jump rope for two weeks. Look for the workout log to help track fitness goals and successes!

Read more about the Home Gym Kit and find details about everything Healthy Communities offers here. For free cooking, gardening, and fitness join the Free Library wellness community!


Healthy Communities


  • 2-1-1 SEPA

    Call 2-1-1 to get connected to important health and human services. You can also use their website to search.
  • CDC on Health Literacy

    Information and tools to improve health literacy and public health. Find health literacy activities by state, develop materials, learn about health literacy.
  • Choose My Plate

    Helps you make healthful choices for meals and snacks. Tips, recipes, and more!
  • Coalition Against Hunger

    The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger strives to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. The Coalition connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education; provides resources to a network of food pantries; and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions that prevent people from going hungry.
  • Coalition Against Hunger

    The Coalition Against Hunger helps people connect to food pantries and soup kitchens in their neighborhood, including options for finding food that very day. They also help people to apply for SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Households can apply for SNAP benefits by calling their hotline at 215-430-0556.
  • Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities

    This list of resources from the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities includes help for alcohol, drugs, gambling, homeless supports, domestic violence, intellectual disAbility supports, crisis centers, and 24/7 hotlines.
  • Fact Sheet: Health Literacy and Health Outcomes

    This fact sheet summarizes key research findings on the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers

    Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are local, non-profit or city-run primary care providers serving low-income families. Find one using this search tool.
  • Food Fit Philly

    Food Fit Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Our work at Get Healthy Philly is founded in the belief that every human being matters, and that we must work to change systems and structures in our city and in our society that result in disparities in health and opportunity.
  • Free Health Screenings

    The Philadelphia Department of Public Health maintains a monthly list of free health screenings across the city. Scroll down to the “Free Health Screenings in Philadelphia” section for the link to this month’s list.
  • Health and Wellness Resource Center

    The Free Library's database where you can explore different health topics
  • Health Finder

    Use this federally sponsored website tool to learn what you or a loved one can do to stay healthy.
  • Health Literacy Basics

    Definitions and answers to basic questions about health literacy provided by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Health Literacy Month's Website

    This website will provide more information on how you can help support Health Literacy Month's efforts

    Official guide to the health care, health insurance and the Affordable Care Act
  • Local Health Literacy Events

    A list of local health literacy events across Pennsylvania that you can attend
  • Medline Plus

    A web resource that contains reliable health information from the National Library of Medicine to help answer health questions
  • NaturePHL

    NaturePHL is a cross-sector program helping Philadelphia children and families achieve better health through activity in local parks, trails, and green spaces.
  • PA Forward: Healthy Literacy

    See what efforts the Pennsylvania Library Association is putting forth to promote health literacy.
  • Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council

    The Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council connects Philadelphians and their local government to create a more just food system. They envision that all Philadelphians can access and afford healthy, sustainable, culturally appropriate, local, and fair food.
  • Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Finder

    Search for healthy and fun activities at Parks and Recreation Centers near you!
  • Philly Food Finder

    Use this tool to find food pantries, meals for seniors, soup kitchens, SHARE host sites, and farmer’s markets by typing in your address or zip code.
  • Philly Powered

    Philly Powered is a part of Get Healthy Philly, the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and is designed to promote everyday physical activity particularly among adult men and women who are seeking to live healthier lives.
  • PubMed Health

    A service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) that provides information for consumers and clinicians on prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions
  • Regional Health Literacy Coalition

    A website created by Pennsylvania's Health Literacy Coalition to improve understanding between providers and consumers of health care

    An initiative by the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) and Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals (TJUH) to address health literacy in Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Smoke Free Philly

    Smokefree Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, the Chronic Disease Division of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The goals of SmokeFree Philly are to help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting using tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.

Electronic Resources

Upcoming Events

Blog Posts

Nourishing Literacy | Planting Story Seeds with Madame Marie and Her Magic Garden

Nourish your literacy by creating stories from scratch—with a seed starter! Chrissy loves to read, write, and tell stories. Her suggested steps for creating folklore were offered back when she was Talking About Tomatoes ! The…

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Nourishing Literacy | Let's Layer: Art and Cooking!

What art projects can you think of that involve layers? What recipes have you tasted that include layers of ingredients? Leanna and Tonii share two ideas for layering, while creating art and recipes in the following video. These ideas…

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Nourishing Literacy | Veggie Rap!

If you like sweet beets, nourish your literacy with extra flavor and spice! Brocc out with the Veggie Rap! It's a jam, and it might even make you feel butter. Lime for lime you can farro along. Phyllo ears with some grape…

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Nourishing Literacy | Create Your Own Candy Buttons!

Teens recently joined the Field Teen Center and Nourishing Literacy teams for a SWEET Make and Take project! Candy buttons are small dots of colorful sugar candy attached to a strip of paper. It was surprising and cool how simple…

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Nourishing Literacy | We Are Green Machines!

What shapes, sizes, and colors are the leafy greens that you enjoy eating, or would like to try? The following recipe uses the leaves and the stems of the vegetable. Try eating these greens over noodles or rice. What are some of your…

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Join the Logan Library for a Community Resource Fair!

by Regina Schliep, Logan Library Work-Study Student Logan Library invites adults and caregivers to an outdoor Resource Fair on Friday, September 24 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., featuring over ten organizations that support…

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Nourishing Literacy | Books and Cooks: Strong Rocks

Books and Cooks, a collaboration between the Parkway Central Library Children’s Department and the Culinary Literacy Center’s Nourishing Literacy team, offers an afterschool series of story read-alouds, cooking ideas,…

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#SummerThrowback: Building Community Through Food Sovereignty

This week, we're taking a little stroll down memory lane with #summerthrowback to highlight how food can be holistic, radical, and more than anything—should be a right, not a privilege. We learn from community members by way…

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Nourishing Literacy | That's Bananas!

Mashed, chopped, whole, frozen, fresh, or dried—bananas are a whole food that are nutritious to eat and flexible to use in cooking! This snack is made with just two ingredients, banana, and lemon! With a small amount of…

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Sunday Funday Yoga Storytime with Folkshul

Sunday Fundays, a program series of stories and songs featuring mindfulness, meditation, and movement in celebration of Jewish culture, is a partnership between Folkshul and the Free Library. Children ages infant to 5 and their…

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Join Us in Joyful Acts of Mindfulness: In Joy, Take Care

The ongoing pandemic has elevated stress levels, anxiety, uncertainty, depression, and loneliness within our communities. So what if we took a moment to reflect on self-care? Members of the Culinary Literacy Center 's Healthy…

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Nourishing Literacy | The Rainbow Pantry: Spice Blends!

The Nourishing Literacy team and friends have created color-coded spice blends for our Rainbow Pantry. What colorful spices do you enjoy using?   Black Spice Blend Toni created a black spice blend that she recommends using to…

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Nourishing Literacy | How Have You Bean?

Beans bring a lot to the table! Taste, color, and flavor are among their positive qualities. They add nutrition to meals, containing protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These burgers in the following recipe can be eaten on a bun, on…

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Body Connections: It Starts with You!

Philadelphia residents recently got their bodies moving through two exciting community partnerships with the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center's Healthy Communities programming! While about half the classes offered by the…

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Nourishing Literacy | Talking About Tomatoes!

Tomatoes are available in different sizes and colors—canned, dried, powdered, juiced, sauced, or fresh—and can be found in many different recipes and preparations. The tomatoes in the following dish are smashed with hands,…

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Nourishing Literacy | Broccoli Has Flower Power!

Broccoli is a delicious, nutritious flower! With its different textures, vibrant green color, and good flavor, broccoli can ignite ideas both in and out of the kitchen. Blanching is a way to quickly cook vegetables in hot water. This…

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Philly Versus the World: A Battle Over Ice Cream

Recognize and represent our city for its contributions to the popularization of ice cream in the US! And be sure to join us at the Haddington Library on Friday, July 23 at 2:00 p.m. for a demonstration, tasting, and celebration . Water…

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Edible Alphabet Recipe of the Week: Hummus and Flatbread

by Breshay Woods, Culinary Literacy Center Intern Edible Alphabet  is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's  Culinary Literacy Center.  Our mission is to teach English language…

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Nourishing Literacy | The Rainbow Pantry... from Scratch!

Inspired by June’s Pride month and our LGBTQIA+ community members, we are celebrating the Rainbow Pantry again! Check out previous blog posts for more ideas on keeping and using colorful kitchen staples. This round, we are…

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Edible Alphabet Recipe of the Week: Black Bean Burgers

by Breshay Woods, Culinary Literacy Center Intern Edible Alphabet  is a free English Language Learning (ELL) program offered by the Free Library's  Culinary Literacy Center . Our mission is to teach English language…

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