Pastor Aldo Siahaan: Refusing to leave behind Philadelphia's underserved communities

Asian Americans Making a Difference
Pastor Aldo Siahaan
Pastor Aldo Siahaan says, if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught him anything, it's to brace for the unknown. Photo credit Aldo Siahaan

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pastor Aldo Siahaan of the Philadelphia Praise Center has mobilized people to lift those in underserved communities whom he refuses to leave behind.

"It's communal and it's really powerful," said Siahaan.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, that meant providing food and paper goods for weeks on end to families in need.

"I've never seen it like this before in my ministry and during my life here in Philly," he said.

As soon as vaccines became available, Siahaan helped hundreds of elderly residents and people with limited English-speaking skills in his South Philadelphia community get registered with the city for their COVID-19 shots.

He also opened up his church for vaccination clinics.

If the pandemic has taught Siahaan anything, he says, it's to brace for the unknown.

"Pay attention with what happens next, because every week, everything can change," Siahaan said.

Even with the rising tide of anti-Asian hate, which members of his community have seen firsthand, he works to improve all lives.

"Regardless of the hatred, regardless of the oppression that some people are facing, we as the Asian community want to keep serving people in the community," said Siahaan.

Part of Asian Americans Making a Difference, a KYW Newsradio series in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Each week this month, KYW's Denise Nakano will profile prominent individuals and community groups in the Philadelphia region to draw attention to the contributions of people of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage.