A month after much of the Kensington High School football team's equipment was stolen or vandalized from a shed at its practice field, its fundraising has surged to a new level.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady have bolstered community donations to replace the equipment so the team can play this season.
On Wednesday night, Kensington assistant coach Justin Young received a phone call from Lisa Ertz, Zach's mother. "I talked to Mrs. Ertz and then Zach," Young said. "It was pretty amazing."
Young said the two donated $5,000 through the Ertz Family Foundation, then "upped the pledge to $10,000."
On Thursday, Brady handed Young a check for $8,000, after the two talked the previous day.
"We had a great conversion, and he said he was going to do whatever he could to help us," Young said.
Including online fund-raising and outside donations, the school has raised about $28,000, said Young, a fifth-year assistant and 2001 graduate of Kensington. There "is no goal. We'll take whatever we get, and be appreciative of that."
Young said one or more squatters stole or vandalized helmets, practice jerseys, pants, socks, girdles, and tackling dummies in mid-July.
Kensington, which is guided by head coach Sean Ryan, is scheduled to scrimmage Public League-rival Strawberry Mansion on Aug. 18 at the Marcus Foster Stadium Super Site in Hunting Park.
The challenge is to get 16 to 20 helmets from the school district's vendor by next Friday. The team had about 15 helmets safely stored at the school.
"We put an order in, but, with so many teams getting ready to begin their seasons, it's like trying to buy rock salt on the same day as a snowstorm," Young said.
Kensington, a fifth-year varsity program, is scheduled to open the season at New Hope-Solebury on Aug. 24.
"We're pretty much a self-sustaining program," Young said. "A lot of these kids come from broken homes, so it's been terrific for them to see that there are people out there who really do care."