SPRINGFIELD — The new nonprofit The Delco Group is already a force for good in Delaware County.
The group of businessmen and their families put out a call in November for nominations for those who’ve experienced tough times due to chronic illness, the sudden death of a family member, losses from fire or natural disaster, sudden unemployment, and other unfortunate situations.
Their goal is to provide joy and temporary relief with happy and memorable experiences to individuals and families who are experiencing extremely tough times due to chronic illness, sudden death of a family member, losses from fire or natural disaster, sudden unemployment, and other unfortunate situations.
“It went really well,” said founder John Port, about the Dec. 21 event The Delco Group hosted at The Ballrooms in Boothwyn. “We ended up having nine families show up.”
Those families were told they were having breakfast with Santa only to be surprised with their special gifts.
For example, they helped one family with 2-year-old battling cancer to set up a foundation to help other families pay for parking and dining costs at area hospitals, he said.
“Those are their biggest expenses,” he said.
For another family, the mother had been diagnosed with cancer. She and her husband planned to take their children to Disney World but she died before they could. The Delco Group surprised the dad and his sons, who are 5 and 3 years old, with a trip to Disney.
“It was an unbelievable day,” said Port. “Most of the families were completely surprised.” Also that day the charity brought about 25 needy children to a Kohl’s store and gave them gift cards valued at $100 to $125 for a shopping spree, he said. The children were chosen after “a few social workers reached out to us,” he said. These were “kids who had tougher setup for Christmas.” It was originally going to be 11 children who got to go to the store but then they thought about their siblings and included those children, too.
“We went and bought gift cards for all of them,” said Port. “The state police gave us an escort. It was a fun day.”
Port added, “People were so thankful and happy. It was really fulfilling. It exceeded our hopes for the day.”
Earlier in December, The Delco Group surprised Hannah Hermansen, 16, a Haverford High School girl who is fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with a trip to the Jingle Ball concert at the Wells Fargo Center. Hannah, her mom, sister and seven friends were treated to a limousine ride and dinner at Del Frisco’s. And Hannah got to meet her favorite singer, Lewis Capaldi, backstage.
Hannah was “extremely surprised and extremely excited,” said her mom, Amy Hermansen. “It was awesome. They’re awesome.”
The Delco Group has 11 board members and “a ton of volunteers,” said Port. They also gave the families homemade Christmas dinners from America’s Pie in Tinicum, he said. Since they began, many small businesses have gotten involved.
“Since we started, it’s almost as if there was a need for it in the community, the level of people who wanted to help,” said Port. “So many people have reached out to us, businesses, the independent, smaller companies. They want to help but didn’t know where to help. That’s the beautiful thing about Delaware County. Everybody sticks together.”