By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On this Labor Day, one North Philadelphia community is holding a unique event until 8 p.m. tonight, a block party that includes a book bag giveaway and free HIV testing.

READ MORE: Camden County Unveils Statue Of Boxing Legend Arnold 'Jersey Joe Walcott' Cream

Neighbors in the 1600 block of York Street gathered for food and to share the last weekend of the summer together, but President of One Day at a Time Mel Wells explained it means much more than that.

“We are here to support the community,” he said. “We are recovering people who want to give back to our neighborhood some of the things we took. This event is sponsored by City Council, who helped us get the 300 book bags to give away. We have 300 meals for anybody in the community who wants to eat. We truly believe that we’re a family as a whole community.”

Wells says there are many in his community who have followed the path to alcohol and drugs, and staff at the party are offering free HIV testing.

A North Philadelphia Labor Day block party. (Credit: Michelle Durham)

A North Philadelphia Labor Day block party. (Credit: Michelle Durham)

READ MORE: 2 Dead, Including Pittsgrove Township School Bus Driver, After Salem County Bus Crash


One Day At A Time was founded by Wells’ father, now deceased. His widow Margaret says her husband struggled with drugs, but he overcame it and wanted to help others after rehab.

“He said a lot of these people don’t have anywhere to go,” Margaret explained. “He said what I want to do is have these people come to the house to start living. I said, why not?”

Over the years they have sheltered hundreds of people in their home.

MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Thunderstorm Warnings Issued As Storms Move In

Free HIV testing will take place until 6 p.m. tonight. The book bags will be given away around 3:30.

You may also be interested in:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]