(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
A visit to Philadelphia by actor Bradley Cooper is helping the city's homeless population stay warm this winter.
The National Enquirer reported Tuesday that the Hollywood star recently returned to his hometown to film "The Silver Linings Playbook," a movie about a former teacher coping with life after mental hospitalization. While there, Cooper noticed the city's cold and thus went on a shopping spree for its homeless people.
"While filming in Philly, Bradley noticed a lot of homeless people shivering on the streets," a nameless source told the Enquirer. "He knew the weather was only going to get worse with early snowfall and blistering temperatures predicted, so he sent his assistants to several discount stores to buy thousands of dollars' worth of clothing. Then Bradley returned to the area and began to hand out clothing himself."
The Enquirer said the actor's entourage provided coats, hats, gloves and scarves for homeless people by the movie set. When one homeless individual complimented Cooper's coat, the actor reportedly took it off and gave it to the man. It was quite the catch – the jacket was originally worn by Cooper's "Silver Linings Playbook" co-star Robert De Niro.
Such a charitable act could seem surprising given Cooper's career trajectory. The actor broke into the mainstream with roles as an arrogant finance in "Wedding Crashers" and a hard-partying playboy in "The Hangover." This year, he reprised his "Hangover" role for a sequel and starred as a drug-addicted wunderkind in "Limitless." Such seemingly shallow characters run the risk of typecasting Cooper as callous.
That's not so, said the Enquirer's source. In reality, he said, Cooper greatly values his Philadelphia upbringing. His father Charles was a Merrill Lynch stockbroker, he continued, and showed Cooper the value of charity by volunteering with him at local homeless shelters.
"Charles shared his wealth with those less fortunate," the source said. "Charles would be very proud that his A-list son is carrying on his legacy."
Pastor Jomo Johnson of Philly Open Air Church said Cooper's kindness helps urban Philadelphia's underprivileged. Homelessness, poverty and substance abuse, he said, were elements of the city he found all too common.
"The street culture has a charged atmosphere here," Jomo said. "It's a challenge ministering to people in these conditions at times as they're often simply trying to achieve their physical needs. People's homelessness drives them away from God."
Johnson added that Philadelphia's government couldn't help every single one of its neighborhoods escape such social ills. As such, he said it was necessary that Christians and charitable souls like Cooper chip in.
"It's the responsibility of Christians to pray, fast and pour out their life into this community," Johnson said. "When they don't, the city suffers. It'll require a lot more self-sacrifice to achieve change."
Johnson said he couldn't comment on Cooper's faith, but he could say that the man's generosity was a step in the right direction.
"I love Philadelphia," said Johnson. "My hope and desire is that there will be a revival in this city to unite under the banner of Christ and seek change socially and spiritually."