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Englewood Shelters Benefit from Generosity of NBA Guard Will Bynum

By Wendell Hutson | November 27, 2013 7:52am
 NBA player Will Bynum not only paid off a $2,500 electric bill at Clara's House and Clara's Place, two women's shelter in Englewood, but on Nov. 26, 2013 he also provided a Thanksgiving dinner for all residents as well.
Dinner at Clara's House
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ENGLEWOOD — Clara Kirk received an early Christmas gift Tuesday when Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum paid a $2,500 electric bill for her two shelters for women and children.

The 72-year-old grandmother is the founder of the West Englewood United Organization at 1650 W. 63rd St. that operates Clara's House and Clara's Place.

A check presentation at Clara's House was made by Shawn Zanotti, a spokeswoman for Bynum, who was unable to attend due to his NBA schedule.

"On behalf of Will Bynum I would like to present this check to you for $2,500 and to let you know that your electric bill with ComEd has been paid in full," Zanotti told Kirk and a group of 30 shelter residents including 10 small children. "This is for all you have done and for all we know you will continue to do."

Bynum took part in the presentation via Skype.

"I feel blessed to be able to help out. I am from Englewood and I know how hard it is to survive in that community," Bynum told Kirk. "My main thing was to reach out and help as many people as possible."

Kirk thanked Bynum for his donation, which included a Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, dressing, ham, salad and collard greens.

"From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all the women and children here we say thank you Mr. Bynum for your generosity," Kirk said.

Bynum recalled moving to Englewood from public housing at an early age.

"I was between 8 and 14 years old when we moved to Englewood. I understand the violence there and it's extremely hard living there," Bynum told DNAinfo Chicago. "With my gift I want to give these women at the shelter hope that they too can make it."

Shelter resident Darlene Morman, 53, said she has everything she needs thanks to people like Kirk, Bynum and others.

"I have a place to live thanks to Ms. Kirk. I have a place with 'good' heat thanks to the generosity of others and now I don't have to worry about being in the dark thanks to Will Bynum," Morman said. "It is nice to see people willing to help without being asked and people who truly give from the heart."