Philadelphia 76ers Moms donate coats and blankets to keep our children, teens and families warm this winter.
YSI welcomes guest columnist, Debra A. Shaw, mother of 76er Hollis Thompson #31 who shares her passion behind the annual coat and blanket drive that benefited YSI children, teens and families this winter. This year, the 76ers Moms second event with YSI, Debra was joined by Beverly Grant, mother of Jerami Grant #39, Teresa Bryant, mother of Robert Covington #33, Lydelia Holmes mother of Richaun Holmes #22 and Nicole R. Martin mother of Isaiah Canaan,#0. The 76ers organization supported the Moms by announcing the coat drive and offered tickets to fans in exchange for coats and blankets.
Debra and the Moms brought the donations t YSI, sorted and held a coat shopping give away at Youth Emergency Service. Youth were thrilled to receive these stylish coats and the new blankets. Thanks so much to Debra and the 76ers Moms for their kindness and generosity.
We hope you benefit from and enjoy Debra’s article:
In the season of 2013-2014 my son started playing for the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, and of course living in Maryland it is only a 2 hour drive to support him at the Wells Fargo Center. As my husband and I started attending these games in early October, we noticed throughout the streets a great number of homeless folks and or folks with signs asking for money. As we continued making our trips and the weather started to change, we noticed that many of the same folks were still outside in those same spots but without coats and blankets.
I have always been a caring and generous individual for those in need, however, I wasn’t in a financial position to afford coats for all of the people that I came across on the streets of Philadelphia. I knew something needed to be done, but what? We all tend to feel like our small efforts don’t contribute that much. I needed something on a larger scale. Seeing this week after week, continued to bother me as we passed through the streets throughout the months of December and January.
Towards the beginning of my son’s second season, I decided I was going to pitch the idea to collect coats and comforters for the needy to the administration of the 76ers and the other moms on the team to see if they would be interested in doing this as a service project. The 76ers administration and the moms were overjoyed with the idea, and we were on our way to our first annual coat and comforter drive during the 2014-2015 season.
The 76ers made one request, and that was to identify the non-profit organization that would be the benefactor of the drive. This was probably the most difficult step for me. There were so many great nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area, and the fact that I didn’t live in Philly made it harder to complete my due-diligence on the various organizations. The 76ers had a list of different nonprofits that they worked with in the past, however, I wanted to identify one that was small and more than likely overlooked. I mentioned to the 76ers team Chaplin the type of organization that I was seeking and he shared information about Youth Service, Inc. The rest is history and we are ecstatic to be partners with them. Gwen Bailey, the executive director, has such passion for what she does, it is infectious to all of us.
This year’s drive which was held on Saturday, January 9, 2016, the mom’s collected over 200 coats and about 70 blankets/comforters. It’s a blessing to be a blessing to someone.