When Zach Ertz's mother told him about a social media post concerning Kensington High School's football trailer being broken into, the Eagles starting tight end knew he and his wife needed to get involved.
"It just touched our hearts, and we felt that we should definitely help," Ertz said. "We understand how much of an impact football can have on our youth, and for them to have their whole season in jeopardy is just something we didn't want to have them go through."
Earlier this month, more than $10,000 worth of Kensington High's football equipment was stolen from a team trailer, and more than $20,000 worth of equipment was damaged. The Eagles learned about it through news reports and matched Ertz's $5,000 donation.
On Friday, the Eagles and Ertz presented 45 game jerseys, a two-man blocking sled, tackle tubes, and lineman shoots in a short ceremony in the school auditorium that included the players. Kensington will receive 15 footballs and a storage container at a later date.
This moment was especially important to Ertz, because his favorite level of football was high school.
"It kind of brings me back to high school, seeing the kids in their high school jerseys," said Ertz, a 2009 graduate of Monte Vista High School in Danville, Calif. "I still remember going to school on game day with my high school jersey on. So it was a lot of fun for me to come. I think it's not just showing my wife and I from afar. We truly wanted to help them and see the impact. To take care of them is what we wanted to do."
The theft at Kensington is similar to other incidents involving youth football across Philadelphia. Wolves Youth Athletic Association, a four-team youth football league, also was a victim of equipment theft. Their trailer was broken into and more than $10,000 worth of football and concessions equipment was stolen. The Eagles have since given them $7,500 toward replacing jerseys and helmets.
"We put it out there, if we could get that [jerseys and helmets], we can get started," said Wolves Youth Athletic Association director Tom Jones.
The Wolves are still trying to figure out how to replace concessions equipment, since the profit made through concessions pays referee fees, insurance fees, and league dues.
"Someone donated a grill," said Jones. "We still need tables, chairs, tents, and coolers."
The Eagles, as an organization believe strongly in cultivating the development of inner-city youth football, and giving back to Kensington and the Wolves Youth Athletic Association was a way to do that.
Ertz felt it was especially important that he and his wife give to Kensington.