If you spend any time on Twitter in Union circles, you likely know all about ‘Stache Bash.
‘Stache Bash, at its core, is another “Help Kick Hunger” fundraiser for The Bernardine Center. Less than a mile away from PPL Park in Chester, PA, The Bernardine Center lends a helping hand to low-income residents in the city by distributing emergency food and supplies.
This isn’t the first time the Sons of Ben have helped the non-profit. In fact, the Union supporters club has been doing this for years, well before any soccer was being played.
In December of 2008, the Sons of Ben teamed up with the Union – then MLS Philadelphia 2010 – to donate 600 pounds of food and $2,501, surpassing the SOB donation of 550 pounds and $1,500 the year before.
Heading into 2010, $7,000 and 1,500 pounds had already been donated over a three-year period. So what do the Sons of Ben do next? They surpass their three-year total during one event, raising a whopping $10,000.
Flash forward a couple of months to ‘Stache Bash.
Some may have heard the term in reference to a prominent charity event benefitting prostate cancer. This ‘Stache Bash, though, was inspired by the mustache (not so surprisingly) of one Jeremy Sharpe, a member of the Sons of Ben. Sharpe would regularly show up at SOB events sporting a ‘stache, and it began to earn notoriety. Then it became the impetus for a charitable initiative.
"I don’t want Chester and the soccer community to see the Sons of Ben as only a supporters group," said Sharpe in a recent Twitter post. "We are a family. Chester is our home and part of that family. This was an avenue to help those in need."
Sharpe and fellow Sons of Ben members Chrissy and Mark Sakers, Sara Shepherd and Scott Kessler put their idea into action. The result is a two-tiered effort: a ‘Stache Bash T-shirt sale and a fundraiser at the Union Home Opener, entitled ‘Stachegate.
"We have an obligation to care for others in general and for Chester in specific," said Sheppard, also on Twitter. "Who can sit by and watch people go hungry?"
At the suggestion of Sons of Ben President Bryan James, Sharpe and Kessler linked up with BarkTees and designer Shaun Kreider to create a shirt featuring Benjamin Franklin with a handlebar mustache. For each $14.99 shirt sold, BarkTees agreed to donate $8.50 to The Bernardine Center.
Supplementing shirt sales will be ‘Stachegate, a carnival-style set-up at the SOB Home Opener tailgate party. Mustache-themed activities will include a kissing booth with the Sakers (one wearing a fake ‘stache, one wearing a real one), a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game, a guess-the-number-of-‘staches-in-the-jar game, and a ‘stache painting station for those unable to grow facial hair of their own. Proceeds from event tickets ($1 per ticket, $20 for 25 tickets) and activity tickets will also benefit “Help Kick Hunger.”
Since ‘Stache Bash was created, it has taken off virally within the Sons of Ben community, with heavy promotional support from The Brotherly Game, The Bridge Crew, Tammany Saints, and The IllegitimateS.
Even Union players have gotten in on the act. Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa changed his Twitter profile photo to an image of the ‘Stache Bash shirt. Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Jordan Harvey and Zach Pfeffer are also actively promoting the cause, with Harvey pledging to grow a mustache in support.
"The Sons of Ben give the Union a massive amount of support day-in, day-out," Harvey said before returning from Greece on Thursday with the rest of the club. "When I heard about the 'Stache Bash and helping kick the hunger in Chester I felt it was a great opportunity to give some support back to them and Chester for doing so much for us. I can't wait to get back from Greece to a 'Stache Bash tee and hopefully by then my Stache will be nice and full. Doop!"
So, if you’re at PPL Park on March 26, don’t be surprised to see a few more mustaches than usual.
If you’re in the mood to have a little fun for a good cause, add a new T-shirt to your collection and, if applicable, put the razor down for a couple weeks.
If Benjamin Franklin can do it, so can you.
CLICK HERE to order a 'Stache Bash shirt. $8.50 will be donated to The Bernardine Center for each purchase.