Today Mayor Nutter announced that two Philadelphia youth football teams that qualified for the Pop Warner Superbowl tournament will be able to make the trip thanks to a chunk of private money he helped raise.
Nutter said media reports, including those by WHYY, prompted an outpouring of community support.
Mayor Nutter thanked the donors, including the Philadelphia Eagles who chipped in $10,000, Mitchell & Ness who gave $5,000, and Comcast which ponied up $4,000. In total, $26,500 was donated by private sponsors to pay for airfare, lodging and meals for youth, parents and representatives from the Frankford Chargers and North Philly BlackHawks.
The Executive Director of the Chargers, William Gambrel, said the team’s about more than football.
“These children are growin up to be somethin’, become somethin’, and we can make sure they get a good education,” Gambrel said. “Playing football they can all get things together where they can actually enjoy their whole life.”
Blachawks head coach Derrick Williams said donations poured in from people who were touched by the team’s struggle to raise money. He said he’s glad the team can now can shift their focus from raising money, to playing football.
“All the PO box donations, everyone who came to the field, Mr. Mayor behind me. We really couldn’t have did it without you all,” Williams said at the announcement. “At this time yesterday we really did even think we was going to be able to make it and here we are today like it’s a real blessing to be able to tell our kids who work so hard that they really are able to go.”
The teams play their first games of the tournament this Sunday.
For more on the North Philly Blackhawks read Elizabeth Fiedler’s story Gridiron gold and watch Kimberly Paynter’s video below.