The Sons of Ben are hosting their fifth annual Help Kick Hunger benefit and food drive next Saturday at Brauhaus Schmitz. I was able to talk to the SoB's Director of Philanthropy Bill Gusler about this.
tBG) For our readers who might not know much about Help Kick Hunger, can you give us an idea of what it is and who it benefits?
BG)Help Kick Hunger is the Sons of Ben's longest running charitable project that started with our founding members. It started as a food drive and then molded into an end of year celebration/fundraiser. It's our way of giving back to the community that we spend a lot of time in during the season. PPL Park is in Chester and it is the home of the Union, and it's like a second home to us, so why wouldn't we do what we can to help out and give back? At HKH we collect non-perishable food and hold a raffle and silent auction to raise money for the Bernardine Center in Chester.
tBG)Why was The Bernardine Center chosen as the beneficiary?
BG)The Bernardine Center was chosen after (Sons of Ben founder) Bryan James, (Sons of Ben elder) Brad Youtz, and the other founding members of the SoB's met with (Former Chester) Mayor Butler, who suggested the group partner with the Bernardine Center. They did, and we still honor that partnership today. The Center is one of the largest food pantries in the area, but it's so much more than just a typical food pantry. They offer the community members a spot in their community garden on the side of their building where they can grow fresh vegetables and trade their produce with other members growing in the garden. They offer help for people with resume writing and interview skills to help them find a job and get back on their feet. They offer anger management classes. It's really a worthy cause, and they truly believe in helping their community, so it's a pretty great partnership we have with them.
tBG) How much has Help Kick Hunger raised over its history?
BG) I don't have all the numbers in front of me but I am very confident in saying that since it started, HKH has raised over $30,000 and thousands of pounds of food for the Bernardine Center.
tBG) What are your goals for this year?
BG) This year we are hoping to surpass what we did last year, which was $10,000 and 400 lbs of food. It would be amazing to collect 500 lbs of food and at least $12,500...personally I hope we can get to $15,000 but that's a lofty goal.
tBG) What are some of the raffle prizes that attendees can win?
BG) We have an amazing collection of raffle and auction items this year that I'm pretty excited about. To name just a few raffle items, we have a team signed Union ball, pennant, and jersey. We have autographed items from the Phillies, Flyers, and Eagles. We have gift cards to Brauhaus Schmitz, Fado's, Stoney's Pub, Xfinity Live, Steven Starr, Bark Tees, Yangming, Greeks Next Door, Giant, and a handful of others. We have passes to a bunch of local theaters, museums, Six Flags, Wilmington Blue Rocks, and a couple more. Earl Gardner donated a pair of autographed and frames pics he took of Mo Edu and Ray Gaddis. We'll be raffling off a 2015 Union season parking pass, 4 field level seats to a 2015 Union match, road trips with SoBs, and a 2015 tailgate package. Cobbs Creek Golf Course is giving us a foursome for a round of foot golf, the Brotherly Game is donating an MLS live subscription for the 2015 season. We're getting gifts in all the way up to the event, so there's still plenty of things not listed including stuff from Yards and Dogfish. Plus we have game worn and signed cleats from Mo Edu, Ray Gaddis, Andrew Wenger, Chaco Maidana, Brian Brown and Fabinho, and a pair of signed gloves from Chris Konopka. We also have some amazing silent auction items this year including some player experiences with Le Toux, Ray Gaddis, Ethan White, Zach Pfeffer, and Andrew Wenger (I'm still working on another). Tony Saldutti donated a Stoke City autographed jersey. The Union donated a suite for a 2015 match for 20 people, a chance for someone's child to be a player escort for a match this season, and there's a chance for someone and a guest to watch a match from the video booth and PPL Park and play the DOOP song when the Union score. We're still setting up a few more, so there's going to be some amazing, once in a lifetime items at this year's HKH.
tBG) Anything else that you'd like to add?
BG) It is Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 from 6-9pm at Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street in Philly. Children are welcome (obviously you need to be 21+ to drink). We know some people won't know until the day of if they can make it, but we are asking that if you can buy your tickets early, please do so! Also, I want to thank everybody, every group and company who donated something, or put an ad in our ad book, helped spread the word, and the players agreeing to be a part of this, we truly appreciate it. We will have some special guests and surprises that night, so come on out, have a great time and help a great cause. If you have any questions, or want to donate something, please shoot an email at email@example.com.
To purchase your tickets, go here.