WEST CHESTER (February 13, 2018) – Addison Cosgrove, an 11-year-old from Malvern, was so concerned about the problem of homelessness in the Philadelphia region that she resolved to do something about it.

Recently, Cosgrove, a student at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, met with state Senator Andy Dinniman to discuss ways she could help in the fight against homelessness and poverty.

Cosgrove reached out to Dinniman after a trip to Philadelphia with her mother, Kristen, to see the musical, “Annie,” at the Walnut Street Theatre. Upon seeing throngs of homeless residents on the city streets on a bitterly cold day, Addison resolved to do what she could to help.

Senator Dinniman (left) discuss ways to help fight homeless with 11-year-old Addison Cosgrove (center). Addison’s mother, Kristen, is pictured on the right.


“I knew about the homeless around age 7 and it always bothered me,” Cosgrove said.  “Walking out of the theater that day made it even more real and not acceptable to be happening here in America.”

“She said, ‘This is America. Why is anyone on the street?’” Kristen recalled. “And nobody stopped but us. It was a very cold day and she gave her gloves and her scarf.”

Dinniman, who helped found both Safe Harbor of Chester County and the Chester County Gleaning Program (now the Chester County Food Bank) more than two decades ago, suggested ways Cosgrove could help support and volunteer with local homeless shelters and food banks. 

Founded in 1995, Safe Harbor of Chester County has grown to provide housing, meals, and services to hundreds of homeless men and women each year. In addition, other homeless shelters throughout Chester County like the Salvation Army; Good Samaritan Services in Phoenixville; City Gate Mission, the CYWA and the W.C. Atkinson Center in Coatesville; Family Promise of Southern Chester County; and others; provide vital services to those in need.  

“It’s inspiring and encouraging to see young people, like Addison, interested in getting involved in helping the homeless,” Dinniman said. “Homelessness is a solvable problem. And I’m hopeful that her passion and work will motivate her peers to get engaged in their communities and reach out and help our neighbors in need.”

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