Youth Football Team Makes Gains on Fundraising Goal

The Chicago Chargers qualified for this weekend's national championships but can't afford the trip

Update: Team Gets Funds, Leaves Friday for New Orleans

Thousands of dollars poured in this week to help send a pee-wee football team based in Chicago's Austin neighborhood to a national championship game.

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, the Chicago Chargers had raised about $24,000 but were still about $11,000 shy of the funds needed to send the 75 players and 25 cheerleaders on the bus trip to New Orleans.

"We’re hoping that the rest of tonight and tomorrow, we can help them achieve their goal," said Jason Erkes, the president of Chicago Sport and Social Club, which decided earlier in the day to assist the team with an online fundraising effort through

"If they’re close, we’ll push them over the top to make sure they get it," said Erkes.

The Chicago Chargers is comprised of five teams of different age groups.  The Gumbo Classic in New Orleans would be the culmination of a practice season that started way back in April.  Many of the children have never hda the opportunity to leave Chicago.

"It would be a great honor to go down to New Orleans," said 10-year old Jordan Tims.

Earlier this week, Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) put on his holiday spirit cap and reached out to constituents to help the youth football team.

Davis donated $1,000 and implored others to help out as well.

"During this holiday season, I hope you can find it imperative to give these youth the opportunity to make their hard work pay off," Davis wrote Wednesday in a letter. "Anything you can give will be greatly appreciated."

In addition to the website, donations can be made at the Columbus Park Fieldhouse, 500 S. Central Ave. Any donations must be made by Thursday.

"They have a once in a lifetime chance to be national champions," Davis said.

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