philadelphia union foundation
The Philadelphia Union Foundation launched in March 2012, has worked since its inception on creating a better community in the city of Chester. The first year of the Foundation is soon wrapping up; but before it does the Foundation will be once again involved in the “Coats for Chester” program.
The idea for the “Coats for Chester” initiative first came into being three years ago during the Sons of Ben annual Food Drive. “People were coming in hoodies,” Bob Kozlowski (President of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame) stated, “The Sons of Ben had the food Drive; we wanted our own way to give back.
For the third straight year the Philadelphia Union partnered with Bob Kozlowski and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame in its annual “Coats for Chester” program. At the final two home games of the Philadelphia Union’s season fans donated over 600 coats from the different donation stations throughout the Toyota Plaza at PPL Park. In the past two months additional drop-off locations were set up across Delaware Country for others to donate their slightly worn coats. At the conclusion of the “Coats for Chester” program on November 30th the Union and the SEPA Hall of Fame could proudly say that1,450 coats far surpassed their goal of 1,000 coats making this year’s total the largest collection to date.
Today,-December 14th the Philadelphia Union Foundation with the help of members from the SEPA Hall of Fame and volunteers from Father Judge High School hit three different locations around Chester, PA to drop of the collected coats. These locations included Bernadine Center, City Team Ministries, and St. Catherine’s.
At the Bernadine Center we were greeted by Sister Sanders and the unloading began. After all the bags of coats were unloaded I got a chance to speak with Ms. Sanders. “If people have clothing, than that is one less thing they have to spend time worrying about,” she said. Collecting coats is just one of the many ways in which the Bernadine Center shares with the Community of Chester. The center also hosts a number classes focusing on topics such as education, anger management, and even parenting. “These are ways to help people move up in the world, we are helping people by lifting them up.” The next stop on the list was City Team Ministries.
Upon arrival at City Team Ministries an assembly line was formed and the unloading began. John Clifford, the liaison of the drop off, was incredibly thankful. “Our long-term goal is to see this city transformed,” Mr. Clifford said. “We want to make a difference.”
The last drop off of the day was at St. Catherine’s church, just a few blocks away from PPL Park. Sister Barbra Anne was waiting anxiously and the unloading began for the last time as “Coats for Chester” came to an end. Beyond coats, St. Catherine’s Church had also been collecting food and toys for the holidays. “Seeing children come in and not only getting food but toys to play with!” a Sister from St. Catherine's began, “the parents are so grateful.”
With the drop-offs over and done with, and a rewarding feeling in our hearts the boys from Father Judge High School returned to class, Bob Kozlowski and his team headed for home and we, The Union went back to work. Before Mr. Kozlowski left, I asked what the plan was for the future of “Coats for Chester”. He replied, “We won’t stop until we collect the same number coats as the number of people in Chester.” Even though our total this year was nowhere near that number, The Foundation, can proudly say that “Coats for Cancer” was a success.
With donations and support from Dunkin Donuts, the Philadelphia Union Foundation set-out, on three different occasions, to bring hot coffee and donuts to the Crossing Guards of Chester, PA. as a part of their new initiative: C.A.U.S.E. (Community Action Union Soccer Efforts).
On Friday November 16th at 7:30am, 4 Union Staff members drove the Union Toyota to 6 different stops in Chester, PA. Crossing Guards, children and community members, including Linda Johnson on West 7th and Jeffrey Street, were delighted to receive a freshly brewed cup of Joe and a donut to start their morning shift. Many shared stories about their job and how they’ve loved seeing the children grow up. “Ms. Puddin,” one of the first stops on the third drop, said, “these are all my children, I keep them safe.”
Another run occurred on the same day during the afternoon shift. Finally on November 19th, a chilly Monday morning, the third, final and largest Joe and dough drop occurred. It was an excellent opportunity to meet neighbors and to show thanks for continued hard work and dedication in Chester.
With mud on their shoes and wet socks, several interns of Philadelphia Union, left the Showalter Intermediate School with a sense of pride, knowing that they just helped the community. The giant puddles, left by “Frankenstorm” were no deterrents as they cleaned up the playground located adjacent to the middle school in Chester. The clean-up effort – which will continue – included collecting trash on the playground, raking leaves off the soccer field, fixing the sponsorship panels – which surrounded the soccer field – removing graffiti off of the playground and reapplying woodchips to the playground floor. During the clean-up effort, the interns were greeted by four children of the Chester community who expressed gratitude as they offered their assistance in the cleaning up their neighborhood. When finished, the children left to go trick-or-treating, feeling they received an extra treat on Halloween Eve – not only did they receive candy but also an assurance of a clean and safe playground.
The second annual River Cup is coming to PPL Park on August 26! The Union Front Office hope to make it two wins in a row after a narrow 2-1 victory in last year's inagural event, while the Sons of Ben are out for revenge as they look to lift the River Cup trophy for the first time.
Tickets are on sale now for $10 and are available for purchase from the PPL Park box office during all Union home games, as well as regular business hours on non-gamedays.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Philadelphia Union Foundation's charitable activities in the local community. Last year's River Cup raised over $25,000!
To view photos from the 2011 event, CLICK HERE.
WATCH: 2011 River Cup rewind
The Philadelphia Union Foundation was featured in the July edition of the MLS W.O.R.K.S. newsletter for community service efforts surrounding the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
To view the July newsletter, CLICK HERE.
On Sunday, August 26th at PPL Park, watch the Philadelphia Union front office and the Sons of Ben battle it out at the 2nd annual River Cup! The match kicks off at 6 p.m.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Philadelphia Union Foundation.
Stay tuned for updates and ticket information as matchday approaches!
On Monday, Chester Mayor John A. Linder honored local students in grades 8-12 at the Mayor’s Annual Scholar Dinner.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation was a proud sponsor of the event, where the mayor recognized students for superb academic achievement, outstanding service to the Chester community, and acceptance into a college or university.
Over 30 local students were honored for their academic accomplishments and service to the community.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and Chester Upland School District invite you to build a playground in Chester during MLS All-Star week!
The build will take place on Tuesday, July 24th from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Science and Discovery High School in Chester. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all volunteers.
Those interested in volunteering should email Leah Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, as space is limited.