Bitingly cold, Friday night was no time to loiter on a sidewalk.
But pedestrians at Lancaster and Merion avenues in Bryn Mawr, one after another, couldn't help themselves.
There, conducting press interviews behind a storefront window, stood one of the most recognizable couples in the Delaware Valley: Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife, Heidi Hamels, founders of the Hamels Foundation charity.
The Hamelses were throwing a private party at 880 W. Lancaster Ave. to celebrate the opening of the foundation's new office and retail shop, formerly located in Center City.
Beginning Monday, fans can browse and purchase merchandise between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Proceeds benefit the five-year-old foundation and its education projects—chiefly a series of grants to Philadelphia schools and the construction of a $4.2 million school complex in the sub-Saharan nation of Malawi.
So how much time will the Newtown Square couple be spending in Bryn Mawr now?
Cole Hamels, who'll join his teammates this month in Clearwater, FL, for spring training, told Patch he'll be in the neighborhood only occasionally. Heidi Hamels, though, will be working in the foundation office three days a week. (The foundation is planning to stay in Bryn Mawr at least six years, she said; that is the same length as the contract extension her husband signed last July.)
Heidi Hamels and an aide also are planning a September trip to Malawi to get video footage of construction progress for prospective donors.
The onetime "Survivor" contestant said staff expect seven Malawi buildings will be complete by then, with 41 more planned in the complex. She called the groundbreaking of that site an especially rewarding moment in her foundation work, particularly because "you had to get 20 million people's approval to build this thing."
Also personally rewarding, Heidi Hamels said, was the construction of a foundation-funded, $300,000-plus playground last year at Bayard Taylor Elementary in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, the fate of the equipment is uncertain; Taylor is on a list of city schools proposed for closure. The district's School Reform Commission is expected to discuss the closures plan when it meets Feb. 21.
In a recent statement, foundation officials said they were disappointed with the closing plan and would seek more dialogue with the district, but that "the goal of The Hamels Foundation to support education in our community will not change." Heidi Hamels said the foundation this year would seek to provide students with laptops, tablet computers and other technological implements.
Cole Hamels said he hears "almost every day" from fans who seem to appreciate the foundation's work."It's nice to hear the fans yell at you and thank you, instead of just yelling at you," Hamels said with a laugh.
The pitcher said he didn't expect to approach spring training, conditioning or his mindset any differently this year: "I think every year I can always get physically stronger and mentally tougher. ... I go in every year wanting to win, so I'm not going to change my approach."
The couple's older son, 3-year-old Caleb, explored the new Bryn Mawr offices a bit while his parents handled the press and chuckled about his reactions to his parents' fame. Seeing Dad on TV has become mundane, but seeing Mom on TV for Hamels Foundation functions is both exciting and a little confusing to him, Heidi Hamels said.
"The one thing we will teach," Cole Hamels said, "is to give back and appreciate what he has. You can always give something."