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 Health Literacy Resources by Health

Check out these electronic sources to learn more about health literacy and how it can affect you!

View the full list

Health Literacy 2016 by Health

Check out these resources to learn more about health literacy and how to best communicate health information!

View the full list

Electronic Resources

Upcoming Events

Blog Posts

Edible Alphabet Recipe of the Week: Dumplings

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 and…

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Baking with Becca: Cooking Outside the Box

Baking with Becca began at Whitman Library , nestled between 2nd and 3rd Streets on Snyder Avenue in South Philly. When COVID hit, we had to take a long break. I continued to grow and learn to strengthen this class and to steel myself…

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Newest Episode of "Book Feast" Invites Women to the Table

Coinciding with Women’s History Month, the newest episode of Book Feast uses the luncheon in Virginia Woolf ’s proto-feminist essay A Room of One’s Own (1929) to discuss women’s legacy in literature. The…

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Women's History Month | Ruth Wakefield and the Toll House Cookie Empire

Ruth Jones Graves, a dietitian, educator, author, and business owner, was born on June 17, 1903, in East Walpole, Massachusetts. She is credited with inventing the very first chocolate chip cookie, which began as Toll House…

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Healthy for Life Ignites Community Health and Wellness

Over the last several weeks, local Philadelphia residents, as well as folks as far reaching as Australia (yes, you read that right!) attended Healthy For Life, a community nutrition and culinary program! As an initiative of Aramark and…

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Recipes and Recommendations for Pi Day!

by Breshay Woods — Culinary Literacy Center Intern What better way to mark the one-year anniversary of life under a global pandemic than with a number that seems to go on forever and can just never seem to come to an end?…

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Reference Desk: Culinary Literacy Programming at Lillian Marrero Library

Welcome to Lillian Marrero / ¡Bienvenidos! Lillian Marrero Lillian Marrero Library  was built in 1906 with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. Today, the library is a landmark in Central North Philadelphia and serves as an…

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Edible Alphabet Recipe of the Week: Spinach Feta Orzo

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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Self-Care for Caregivers | National Caregivers' Day

Today is National Caregivers’ Day, and we’d like to take a moment to honor the essential role that caregivers play in our communities. Whether it is for loved ones or how you earn your living, giving care is work. Caregivers…

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Recipes and Resources for a Virtual Mardi Gras Celebration

by Breshay Woods  (Culinary Literacy Center Intern) Does all this Philadelphia snow have you ready for a virtual vacation to New Orleans? The Culinary Literacy Center  is here to help, with Mardi Gras-inspired recipes and…

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Bento Boxes: A Sustainable Method for Food On the Go

Quaint boxes equipped with separate compartments, used to store your favorite meals, bento boxes are gaining major popularity in the United States. While they are great for storing on-the-go meals, they were …

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Squash Across Tables

Thank you to Nourishing Literacy (NL) team member Carolyn for writing this blog post! In addition to sharing her experience and findings, Carolyn has included some of the activities and approaches that we use in NL. The Nourishing…

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Celebrate the South Indian Holiday of Pongal!

The South Indian holiday of Pongal is a multi-day harvest festival full of music and food observed by the Tamil and Telugu community, celebrated this year per the Hindu religious calendar, starting on Thursday, January 14 and ending on…

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Let Culinary Explorations of Literature Nourish You with Book Feast!

Have you ever thought about why we use the same vocabulary to describe consuming food and consuming knowledge? How we’re hungry for the truth, devour a good book, and digest information?  Intellectual nourishment has been so…

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Stocking Up Food for the Winter

Written by Alex Evenson, Philabundance Nutrition Educator, with additions from Caity Rietzen, Culinary Literacy Center Supervisor Frozen peas, canned beans, and potato chips. What do these three food items have in common? Since the…

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Celebrate the Holidays with Gingerbread

One of my favorite treats for the holidays is making gingerbread! Did you know that gingerbread was derived from Greece in 2400 b.c and was originally meant to preserve ginger? Gingerbread was a term used for any recipe that combined…

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A Taste of African Heritage for Kwanzaa

Healthy Communities just wrapped a fall series of A Taste of African Heritage with instructor Paul O. Mims, who recently spoke with Oldways about Cooking, Culture, and Community During Covid .  A Taste of African Heritage (ATOAH)…

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Cooking with Pomegranates: Seeds the Day!

Pomegranates! They are unique red fruits filled with many juicy seeds, with a sweet and tart taste. While these fruits grow in warmer climates, they can be available in some local Philly stores in the fall and early winter months. …

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¿Aprendiendo Español? Check Out These Resources!

Nowadays, mastering a new language is so much fun—there are so many resources available! Depending on your learning style, you can design a work plan that fits your needs and time. With only five minutes a day, you can build a…

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