- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Advocates for the poor hope the pope’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia will inspire people to follow his lead and help the needy.

Civic and religious leaders have started The Francis Fund to raise money for dozens of human services groups in and around Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.

Organizers on Monday said that nearly $700,000 has been pledged so far. They are also encouraging volunteers to work with the groups.

Sister Mary Scullion is a longtime homeless advocate in Philadelphia working on the effort.

She says anyone listening to the pope’s teachings will be inspired to help end hunger, homelessness and poverty.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Philadelphia in September for the Roman Catholic church’s World Meeting of Families.

He is also set to visit New York and Washington.

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