Until his untimely drowning death in 2007, Pete Nelson was always finding ways of giving back to the citizens, and especially the youth of Chester, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding Tri-State area.
After his father’s death, Delaware Blue Coats Assistant General Manager and Philadelphia 76ers scout Jameer Nelson established the Pete and Jameer Nelson Foundation to “maximize the opportunities for young people in the Tri-State area through academics, athletic, social development programs,” so he could continue his father’s legacy.
During the holidays, assistant director Ryan Nemetz said, the foundation has three giving programs – Thanksgiving, Easter where school children in the Chester area receive Easter baskets which include items such as t-shirts and school supplies, and then there is the annual Christmas shopping spree, which this year served nine families.
The foundation works with some organizations in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“We give families three things – presents, gifts and cash gift cards, especially this year with COVID-19,” Nemetz said. “We decided we wanted to give a mix of gifts, but also financial help because there’s so much uncertainty going on right now, especially this year so they can use it toward groceries, bills, whatever it might be at this time.” That often takes the form of gift cards.
The foundation used past relationships with The Resurrection Center Church in Wilmington, Interfaith Hospitality in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and the Cathedral of St. Mark’s in Chester, Pennsylvania and their knowledge of who needed help in their areas to determine which families would receive the help.
Nelson and his family, along with members of the Blue Coats organization went to a local retail store on Dec. 17 with what Nemetz said was a “loose shopping list” based on information from parents about sizes, needs and wants,.
“We had some kind of basics, and then we all shopped for them with the shopping list,” he said.
The gifts were wrapped and delivered on Sunday.,
“We went to each location and actually delivered to each family,” Nemetz said, “and Jameer spoke to them a little bit about why we were doing it and passing the gift on during the holiday season.”