Restaurant Donates Meals for State Championship-Winning Football Team in Need

The Wendell Phillips Academy football team is eyeing a repeat of their historic state championship, and thanks to a suburban restaurant owner, they have one less obstacle in their way

The Wendell Phillips Academy football team made history in 2015 when they were the first Chicago Public Schools team to win an Illinois state football title.

"When we did it, it was so amazing, we ran on the field," said Chris Elmore, who plays for the Wildcats.

"I don't know if I wanted to cry or if I wanted to cheer," added teammate Malcolm Fox.

Now, the reigning state football champions at the Bronzeville high school are eyeing a repeat, but it hasn't been easy.

"We've been riding that high off season and getting ready for this season," said head football coach Troy Mcallister. "A lot of our students are low income, considered low income. There are a lot of little things outside of football that our young men may not have the ability to take care of."

Some of the things the team members and students haven't been able to take care of even include basic needs like a pre-game meal.

So Mcallister and other coaches started a GoFundMe page to raise money to feed the players.

Bob Lattas, the owner of Novi's Beef in Berwyn, was so moved by their story that he pledged meals before and after each game throughout the Wildcats' season.

"No kid should go hungry, especially for a game," Lattas said. "For us to be able to do something like this when we have the means to, that's great."

"Hopefully they'll be able to remember this moment in their lives and in the future, they'll be able to do something similar," he added.

"I don't know if words can express how thankful I am," Mcallister said. "And I know for our young men, it's a huge deal."

"I want to thank you for blessing our team," Fox said. "Giving us the meals that we definitely need to accomplish what we did last season."

"Football means everything to me," Elmore added. "I try to use football to pay for college scholarships."

With food taken care of for the team, coaches said they will now try to focus on other things the young men need, like cleats and shorts.

Several other Chicago Public Schools football teams are using GoFundMe to cover their equipment costs as well, like Richards Career Academy in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, Bowen High School in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood, and Chicago Hope Academy in South Chicago.

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