Brent Celek helps ShopRite kick off ‘Coats for Our Neighbors’ drive

by Stewart Gross

On Sunday, December 8th, former Philadelphia Eagle tight end Brent Celek appeared at the Colalillo Family’s Yardley ShopRite to sign autographs and take photographs with residents. The event was the kick-off of the joint charity effort, “Coats for Our Neighbors.”

Shoppers were encouraged to donate new or gently-used coats for people who don’t have the means to stay warm during winter.

ShopRite will donate all the coats collected along with $10,000 to One Warm Coat, a national non-profit organization that provides warm coats to people in need.

During his 11-year playing career with the Eagles from 2007-2017 and since, Celek has shown his supported numerous charities in the community.

He is still highly recognizable and has permanently moved from his hometown of Cincinnati and adopted the Philadelphia area as his home community.

Brent runs a realty company, has had interest in several center city restaurants, and built a home for his family in West Chester that features a 100-yard regulation football field in its back yard. He is the fifth leading receiver in Philadelphia Eagles history with 398 catches, and ended his playing career on a high note, as a member of the Superbowl LII Championship team, the Eagles lone Superbowl victory, and first championship in 56 years.

Brent’s presence brought out Yardley area sports fans to the opening.

Several hundred fans sporting Eagles, Flyers, Sixers, and Phillies fan gear lined-up by 1:00pm for the opportunity to take free photographs, get free autographs, and of course to donate coats to the needy.

The representative from Vicks, Anna Meyding, was flabbergasted at the loyalty of Philadelphia sports fans as I stood next to him, commenting, “These Philly fans really support their teams.  They are passionate. You don’t see this type of sports enthusiasm in the other cities I go to.”

Anna says that she has “Helped Jeff Currie, the Personal Health Care buyer for Shoprite to organize the coat collection program for Shoprite for the past two years, since they began doing it.”

According to her, “One Warm Coat organizes the actual coat collection, while Shoprite and Proctor and Gamble (Vicks) sponsor it. One Warm Coat coordinates when the coat collections will; take place and in which stores.”

As for Celek, Anna explained that, “I work with my Marketing Manager, Robert Stetts, who went to the promotional organization G3 to search for a local celebrity to open the event. They were the ones who found Brent Celek to do the kick-off event. Brent has worked with One Warm Coat in the past.”

One Warm Coat began this charity in 1992, as a humble one-location coat drive in San Francisco on a Thanksgiving weekend.

Since then, they have coordinated with many organizations such as Colallio’s ShopRite’s to run 34,000 coat drives and have given away over six million coats to those in need at the season of giving.

They have organized similar coat drives in all 50 states and in 10 countries.

One Warm Coat sees to it that a half-million people in need have a warm coat to wear during the winter. 

PHOTO CAP: Brent Celek with an enthusiastic fan at the ‘Coats for Our Neighbors’ drive at the Yardley ShopRite.