By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
Zach Ertz had a lot of good influences in his life from his mother to his coaches to some former NFL players.
The Philadelphia Eagles tight end has taken what he’s learned from all of them and put it into his efforts in helping the charity Bringing Hope Home which helps families in need around the holidays.
Based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, Bringing Hope Home was founded in 2009 and has helped over 3,300 families, most of whom have had family members battling cancer and has raised over $3.9 million for that cause.
“About two years ago, my mom kind of reached out to them,’’ Ertz said of how he got started with the event. “We knew they (Bringing Hope Home) were doing great things. We wanted to get involved.’’
This is the third year Ertz has been involved in helping a Philadelphia family in need. This year his fiancée, Julie Johnston, a star for the USA women’s soccer team, joined him in his quest.
“Two years ago, we had a great family and it’s kind of built and grown from there,’’ Ertz said. “It’s something I’m going to continue to do throughout my time here and hopefully it will grow even bigger.’’
The way the process works is Bringing Hope Home finds a local family in need and Ertz does the rest.
“It could be anything,’’ he said “A death in the family, a family dealing with cancer. We just do what we can to help them out, to help them get through the holidays.’’
Ertz sees to it that the family gets the presents they wanted and sometimes even more. One year he took care of the family’s outstanding electric bills as well.
Last year he brought the family to an Eagles game and that’s when they were presented their gifts. This year the schedule didn’t work out as well, so the family will be at the team’s NovaCare Complex on Friday, December 23rd, the day after the team’s Thursday Night Football game against the New York Giants. They will get a tour of the complex, some Eagles gear and signed photos of several of the players, and their gifts from Ertz and Johnston.
“We’re so fortunate,’’ Ertz said. “And this city has done so much for us. It’s just a small way for us to give back. All the families we’ve dealt with have been great. They’re all down-to-earth. They’re hard-working people who have just been dealt with some things that are tough to deal with, hopefully we’re helping them get through that.’’
Ertz said he always wanted to help and now that he has the platform and the means, he can’t do enough.
“I’ve been blessed to always have good people around me, other players, (former 49ers tight end) Brent Jones, some of my coaches,’’ he said. “They always went that extra mile for me. That meant a lot to me, having those guys donate their time and energy. I learned from that.’’
Now he’s doing his part.
“This isn’t something that’s going to change the world,’’ Ertz said. “But I hope it makes a huge impact on them.’’