Operation Warm, Ben Simmons and 76ers Give Hundreds of Brand New Coats to Children in Philadelphia
On October 10, 2018, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers surprised the students of William Cramp Elementary School with 750 brand new winter coats. This event was part of Operation Warm’s 3 Millionth Coat Tour; a campaign to highlight partners who have truly impacted the lives of children.
The event built on Simmons’ service in the Philadelphia community. Last winter, the 2018 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year surprised four families from South Philadelphia with a holiday shopping spree.
A Special Day for Simmons, 76ers and Students in Philadelphia
Simmons and the 76ers visited Cramp Elementary to personally fit each child with a brand new coat in a bright, kid-friendly color and to help them write their name on a label that reads, “Made Just for You.”
“These are the moments I look forward to all season,” says Simmons, 2017-18 KIA NBA Rookie of the Year. “Thank you to the Sixers and Operation Warm for helping me make sure we get coats to kids that need them.”
Deanda Logan, Principle of William Cramp Elementary School addressed volunteers before the coat giving event began. She expressed how meaningful and impactful it was to have so many community members participate and show so much love to her students.
“Today is a remarkable day here at Cramp Elementary School,” Logan said. “Mere words cannot adequately express how deeply grateful we are to everyone who played a large or small part in making this happen at our school. To have a free winter coat makes all the difference in the world. It’s one less thing parents have to worry about and it provides a wonderful opportunity for all of our students to be prepared to come to school on a cold winter’s day and focus on their learning and not have to focus on being cold.”
First Take: What it’s like to volunteer alongside Ben Simmons
This coat giving event was truly a team effort. Not only did Ben Simmons attend along with some of his family members, volunteers from the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, The School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Community Schools were also in attendance to lend a hand along with a few members of Operation Warm’s Volunteer Brigade.
One of those volunteers was Syntel Noviello, a young woman who recently relocated from Louisiana to Pennsylvania. Noviello was looking for a way to become active in her new community and found the Operation Warm volunteer opportunity through an internet search.
Noviello says that volunteering with Operation Warm helped her reach out and get to know her new state a little better. “There are lots of good people here,” she said. “It was a really good experience. It brought a lot of joy to my heart that day.”
Noviello reflected on the fun and positive energy of the coat giving event. The children at Cramp Elementary had a great time interacting with volunteers, the Sixers Dunk Squad and mascot, Franklin the Dog.
“Once we got everything set up, the kids started coming out, which was definitely my favorite part! My first kid was the cutest little thing. A Bruno Mars song was on, and she was dancing. She was probably about five or six years old, and she was just dancing all over the place.”
Simmons then interacted with the children, personally fitted several of them with a brand new coat and gave out plenty of high-fives.
“Ben came, and the kids got the meet him,” Noviello said. “He really took his time with them. I watched as he let one of the kids shoot [a basketball], and the kid kept missing, because the basket was so far away. Ben let him shoot five or six times, and he did that with every one of the kids.”
When a community joins forces, great things happen. Operation Warm is grateful to Ben Simmons, the 76ers organization, and all of the volunteers who helped bring warmth, confidence and hope to children in Philadelphia.
Interested in aligning your organization with Operation Warm’s mission to provide warmth, confidence and hope to children in need? Learn more about our corporate partnership opportunities.