By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With art and music on the chopping block in Philadelphia public schools (see related story), the charitable foundation of Phillies’ lefthander Cole Hamels’ is stepping in to provide some help.

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Even before last week’s district budget cuts, Shawmont Elementary School principal Michael Graff knew his school’s band badly needed new saxophones, violins and other instruments.

“There still are concerns around the instrumental program and supports to that,” he said today.  “However, our biggest concern was, where were we going to get money to provide the instruments?”

Enter Cole and Heidi Hamels, whose foundation is donating $30,000 to Shawmont for new instruments — as well as $13,000 to fund library renovations at Edmonds Elementary and $7,000 for art supplies at Cook-Wissahickon.

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Cole Hamels says it’s all about making a difference.

“We discussed it with the school district,” he said today.  “Which way would impact lives that they can’t necessarily cover because of what the state and federal government are not providing anymore?”

Hamels says he’s working more closely with the school district since last year’s near-fiasco when his foundation built a new playground at Taylor Elementary but the school wound up for a time on the closure list (see related story).

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