Sons of Ben came together Saturday evening for its annual Help Kick Hunger event, which helps raise money and food for The Bernadine Center, which distributes emergency and supplemental food and supplies to low-income families.
The Sons of Ben held Help Kick Hunger at the brand new Yards Brewing Company venue, where hundreds of Sons of Ben members, family, friends and more gathered to talk and raise money for The Bernadine Center.
"The founding guys started it with some local people, looking for what would be the best way to give back to the city of Chester," said Sons of Ben President Bill Gusler. "We want to help Chester. To see all these people showing up, four weeks away from the holidays, it means a lot to us. It shows that it's not just about the match for a lot of these people. They want to give back and help out for a good cause."
Throughout the event, there was a silent auction and raffle prizes for fans to participate in. For the silent auction, fans could bid on unique items such as a Tommy Smyth onion, which was autographed by every home Union goal scorer and the broadcaster himself. Other silent auction items included an original letter from PPL Park, autographed game-worn boots by Union players, and even a framed jersey autographed by every player from the 2016 Union.
Among the raffle prizes included tickets to a future Flyers or Phillies game, more autographed game-worn items from Union players, a "holiday cheer" box from the Sons of Ben, and more. In total, there were more than 50 items for fans to bid on in the silent auction or use raffle tickets to try and win.
All proceeds from the event went to The Bernadine Center, which helps distribute supplemental food to the local Chester community. Sister Sandra from the Bernadine Center was in attendance, and gave a short speech to those in attendance about just how much an event such as Help Kicks Hunger helps the organization.
"It feels great to be a part of Help Kick Hunger," Sister Sandra said. "We've been a part of it since the Sons of Ben started the event. This event will help us feed families who are very appreciative to receive food, especially during the holidays."
The Bernadine Center opened in Chester in 1986 and have served as a food pantry since its inception. Through Help Kick Hunger, the organization will receive funds and food to distribute to families in Chester, which is even more important as the holidays approach and the weather gets cooler. Just in November alone, the Bernadine Center distributed more than 20,000 pounds of food to more than 700 people.
Also in attendance was former Union player Sebastien Le Toux, who served as a special guest host for the event.
"I want to thank Bill and everyone else out here for letting me serve as the guest host," Le Toux said. "I've been a few of them throughout the years and it's always a pleasure to see everybody."
For the Sons of Ben, Help Kick Hunger just represents another way to stay connected to the city and to the club they support.
"It's reinforcing the fact we want to give back to Chester," Gusler said. "It's more than just showing up on gameday. That's why we do this, that's why it's our biggest event of the year."