The Help for Haiti Gospel Boxing Exhibition earlier this week was a collaboration between the Heavy Hitta's Boxing Club and Athletic Boxing Club Gym in association with the Heart of Worship Restoration Center Church.
“This show was the result of a lot of people working to pull this miraculous event together in a short amount of time,” said Fred Jenkins, the city's boxing chairman for the Department of Recreation. “There are really too many people to thank, but mostly God.”
Jenkins, 54, works with the three tournaments that provided the 15 fighters for the night‘s events: Lucien Blackwell, Mid-Atlantic and Golden Glove.
“Without those excellent fighters there wouldn’t be a boxing show,” he said.
Members of the Heart of Worship Restoration Center wanted to do something for Haiti Relief as well because they, too, have family members there.
“Daniel is from Haiti,” Terrell said. “He really wanted to do something, and he still has family there. He told me one day that he can‘t even watch TV because that‘s all they show now. I said to him that next time we are at the town meeting, I’ll let you introduce yourself.”
Jenkins heard Daniel speak at the Lawncrest Community Association
meeting and told him, “If we are going to do something, let's make it big.” It's Jenkins' church gospel choir that performed at the event.
All ticket proceeds [general admission was $10, ringside seats were $25] go to the Red Cross Haiti relief effort.
Chery's 23-year-old sister, Yovanie, is a University of Pittsburgh nursing student who also started a donation campaign on the Heavy Hitta’s Facebook page
. From Jan. 18 to Feb. 5, she asked for non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, diapers, clothes and toiletries. All donations will be sent to Vision Multi-National Compassion for Haiti.
“Vision Muliti-National is a nonprofit Christian ministry organization that was founded in 2004. It is based in New York and has always provided relief to Haiti, even before these last few earthquakes,” Yovanie Chery said.
Terrell and Haile said that they still want to do more fundraising to give back to the community, in addition to providing a safe haven for kids who have no other outlets in their lives.
“It’s a lot of dedication,” Tim Costello said.
Costello, 50, owns Jack Costello’s Boxing Club
, which is located in Tacony. He created his club not only as a memorial to his father to keep his legacy alive, but also with the same concept of keeping neighborhood kids off the streets by exposing them to the rigorous disciplines of boxing.
Costello said that advertising yourself is the biggest problem these days. His club has an annual fundraiser to support its cause. He said he believes the sport has lost some of its luster through the years and remarked that parents mostly have their children try out for sports that could result in scholarships in the end.
Costello advised the Heavy Hitta’s to “just stick to what you know and what you want. Don’t let outside influences change your mission statement.”
The Heavy Hitta’s, therefore, are trying to build and grow. Terrell and Haile both try to fund the club as much as they can afford, but are now looking for kind donations in any form. Everything from bottled water, gym equipment or even exercise mats are welcomed.
As the Heavy Hitta’s Facebook motto states, “The Harder You Train, The Harder You Fight! Not Just In Boxing, But Life Also!”
Maria Konidaris and Jennifer Reardon are Temple University journalism students working with Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a class devoted to covering under-reported areas of Philadelphia.
*Article by Maria Konidaris, photos and video by Jennifer Reardon.