Girard Estates spreading warmth

Joanna Adoyi, Community Life Assistant, Bethesda Project sharing one of the many generous coat donations. Contributed photo.
Joanna Adoyi, Community Life Assistant, Bethesda Project sharing one of the many generous coat donations. Contributed photo.

A South Philly neighborhood came together to help spread warmth during the coldest season.

The Girard Estate Neighbors Association held its ninth annual Winter Coat Drive by collecting gently used garments for less fortunate people.

For seven days, Taproom on 19th (2400 S. 19th St.) was the hub for collecting kids, men’s and women’s coats. More than 50 coats were collected during the drive.

“This was our ninth annual drive, and once again, our neighbors showed up and made us proud,” said Jessica Frye, president of Girard Estate Neighbors Association. “We received so many warm, like-new coats that will undoubtedly bring smiles to those less fortunate in our community. To open our closets and pull out a coat we no longer wear is such an easy thing for us to do, but in turn could mean the world to the person who receives it.”

Following tradition, the men’s coats and accessories were delivered to Bethesda Project’s Our Brothers Place, a safe-haven homeless shelter on Hamilton Street in the Callowhill neighborhood.

“Bethesda Project provides shelter, housing and supportive services across 15 locations to adults experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia,” said Jeffrey Isaacson, Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager. “We could not meet our mission of providing family with those who have none without generous partners like the Girard Estate Neighbors Association. We are so appreciative of the long-term relationship, and look forward to many more years together.”

Women’s and children’s coats were taken to the Project HOME’s Stephen Klein Wellness Center on Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philly.

Donations collected at Taproom on 19th are piled up before deliveries. Contributed photo.

The mission of the Project HOME community is to empower adults, children and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable people to attain their fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society through street outreach.

Taproom on 19th not only collected the coats, but, once again, it offered donors a free drink “on the house” as a thank you for each donation.

“It’s something we enjoy doing every year,” said Brian Padgett, manager, Taproom on 19th. “We host an event that helps a lot of people in need at a difficult time of year. And it’s not just us. it’s the whole neighborhood that participates.”

Pete Fry, owner of Taproom on 19th, said he looks forward to the 10th installment of the drive.

“We’re always happy to be a part of something that helps our less fortunate neighbors,” Fry said. “We look forward to being a part of the coat drive every year.”

Plans are already in the works as GENA plans to make a difference again next year.

“We look forward to continuing this annual feel-good partnership with the Taproom on 19th next winter,” Frye said. “And we’re hoping to find an extra-special way to celebrate our 10th year.”