Philadelphian brings more ‘Unity in the Community’ during the holidays with NBA’s Ben Simmons

 <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Anton Moore</a>, Founder and President of <
Anton Moore, Founder and President of Unity in the Community collected more than 400 donations for Operation Holiday Help last year. From left, Isabella Plata, 17, Malinda Loglisci, 18, Jenna Diaz, 18, Anton Moore, Grace Palladino, Chikayla Barriner, 18, Levi Martin, 17, at Philadelphia’s Creative and Performing Arts High School . (Philadelphia Tribune)

South Philly native, Anton Moore, and the NBA’s and Philadelphia 76ers’ rising star, Ben Simmons, connected recently to assist those in need and spread some holiday cheer. 

“We worked on this for three weeks and we had to keep it a secret from the families until the day of the event,” Moore said of the four families taken on a “surprise shopping spree at Target.”

“The look on the families faces were priceless,” said Moore, the visionary behind Unity in the Community (UITC) and Commissioner of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. 

“I want to thank the Sixers, Amy Heaver [Sixers Executive Director of Community Relations, Sixers Youth Foundation and Wilt Chamberlain Memorial Fund] and Ben Simmons for partnering with my organization,” said Moore, whose exemplary citizenry earned him the Sixer’s Heroes Among Us Award.

“We believe in giving back to our community, but also the basketball community throughout the world and those in need in desperate times,” Chris Heck, President of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment owned Sixers, said on 97.5 The Fanatic’s Sixers in 60 with Devon Givens and Brian Seltzer.

“We’re always giving back and looking to give back to the community that we live in.”

“Its a real privilege to serve the City of Philadelphia,” said Heck. “It’s our obligation and our pleasure to be a part of the community. It’s in our DNA,” Heck said, recognizing professional sports teams, players and community leaders like Moore have a “platform to make a difference.” 

For close to a decade, Moore has transformed the lives of thousands of residents living in one of American’s most property stricken cities, Philadelphia [Philadelphia: The State of the City A 2016 Update, The Pew Charitable Trusts]. 

Since 2009, Moore has presided over UITC, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives, specifically in the South Philadelphia neighborhood he grew up in. 

"It's the perfect time, season of giving. It just means a lot for me to be able to do this for some families," said Simmons, who “just really wanted to do something nice to give back to the city.”

"It's just one of those things I've always wanted to do growing up, so now is the perfect time,” said Simmons, who not only paid for the shopping spree but gave the families tickets to Sixers game. 

More than 400,000 Philadelphians live below the federal poverty line, including 37 percent of children. Poverty, 

Arguably Philadelphia’s most daunting and intractable problem, the city’s poverty rate stands at 26 percent, the highest of American’s top ten cities. 

For the past eight years, Moore has made exceptional and overwhelming contributions to better the lives of children in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Formerly a resident of the Tasker Homes Projects in an area made famous by infamous Italian mobsters, Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies and the legendary lyricist, Black Thought, Moore has created highly anticipated engagements through Unity in the Community’s philanthropic initiatives including the Annual Women’s History Month Celebration, Coat & School Supply Drive, Community Feast, Father’s Day Cookout, New York Experience, South Philly Cleanup, Ultimate Prom Experience, Thanksgiving Giveback and Operation Holiday Help

Expanding his reach through multimedia ventures, Moore is also currently overseeing the production of the forthcoming documentary, Weight of Death

“He’s a dynamic person living with a purpose,” said Moore’s cousin, Juan Moor

“Seeing how he’s contributed to the people of Philadelphia, a World Heritage City with significant world history, is more than inspiring,” said Moor, Founder of WASTEDTNELAT and Manager of the creative collective, Village Of The Smoke

A former BET associate producer that regularly engaged performing artists, celebrities and personalities working on Rap City, the BET Awards and a host of other shows on the iconic cable television outlet, Moore garnered national attention last year as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

“He’s a world-class trendsetter that advances, yet respects and preserves the culture here in South Philly. Collaborating with Ben Summons, one the NBA’s most recognizable players from Australia, to be a beacon of hope during the holidays for families on a local level is a true testament to Anton’s character.”

An active activist and humanitarian, Moore has led a series of protests and conversations that led to a ban on the sale and possession of BB guns in Philly, a change in local policy resulting form the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a toy gun when a police officer killed him in Cleveland.

Moore previously served as an organizer for Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s election campaigns, assisting the launch of the DJs 4 Obama initiative. 

Embodying the Sixers Strong spirit and being lauded for his devotion to ensuring other people achieve goals they set, Moore is empathetic to those "struggling financially or might have lost someone” which may trigger bouts with “depressions.”

"I wanted to make sure we could cheer these families up," said Moore. 

On Christmas Eve, Moore and Unity in the Community will host their annual Operation Holiday Help initiative, surprising five deserving families with food baskets and gifts, adding on to his list of goods deeds this giving season. 

“I just want to acknowledge an amazing hero in our community who by far does not get enough credit,” said Oddess Nicole Blocker, a mother of four children who was selected to participate in the shopping spree at Target. 

“This man [Moore] works tirelessly to ensure his community is taken care of and fights to try to change the negative conditions around him. He’s like a superhero to me,” said Blocker. 

Sharing heartfelt sentiments and acknowledging Moore’s accomplishments, Blocker thanked him for “being a true community activist.”

“He’s our role model.”

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.