Bernard Hopkins and Danny Garcia Help give away holiday turkeys in West Philadelphia
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—Both International Boxing Federation light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and WBC/WBA light welterweight champion Danny Garcia have had a whirlwind year inside the ring in 2013. They are both coming off huge victories and are considered among the best pound-for-poundboxers in their sport.
On Monday, Hopkins and Garcia joined forces with We Feed the Homeless Philly and the American Red Cross House on Powelton Avenue to give 450 holiday turkeys to low-income families in Mantua and residents of the Red Cross House. Turkey recipients braved cold temperatures and stood in a line that was about a block long.
Hopkins said both he and Garcia with all the success that they’ve enjoyed this season are blessed to be back in the community to be able to help people.
“Thank God you’re in position to be giving out turkeys and that you’re not receiving one,” Hopkins said. “That could be you in that line.”
While Hopkins and Garcia are known worldwide as champions in their sport, their concern for the families in their hometown makes them champions as people as well.
“There’s joy in transcending self to serve others,” said Chad Dion Lassister, executive director of the Red Cross House. “One of the amazing things about Bernard Hopkins and Danny Garcia is they fundamentally understand that they have multiple identities. They’re not just champs, they also come from these communities and it’s great to give back. It means so much.”
The turkey giveaway was part of We Feed the Homeless Philly’s efforts to deal with the organization’s ongoing effort to deal with the city’s hunger crisis, said Craig Stroman, founder and CEO of the organization. Places like Mantua are among the city’s most impoverished areas of the city and while events like this help ease the pain of hunger for the holidays in these areas, more help is needed, he said.
“We appreciate the champs for coming out, but what we need to be focused on is a hunger problem in our city,” Stroman said. “This is what we do 365 days a year. We worry about the hungry in our communities. We feed the homeless and we feed poor families across the citywho call us for help. “We decided to do this partnership with the Red Cross House to try get as many people we can feed in this Mantua section, which is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. We wanted to help and give people turkeys so they can sit with their families with dignity during the Thanksgiving holiday.”
For Garcia, who is coming off a big win over heavily-favored Lucas Matthysse and a victory earlier this year over Zab Judah, coming out to give turkeys to the city’s poor is the highlight of what has been a good year for him personally.
“It feels great to give back to my community and give back to the Philadelphia community means a lot to me,” Garcia said. “I’m thankful, man because this means more to me than anything because there’s a lot of people out there who are not fortunate to have a good dinner. Today was about the people.”