DURING THE holiday season, it is not all about division titles, playoff seeds or one final win-or-go-home game in Dallas.
Every year during the holidays, the Eagles help area families in need. A few Eagles will also venture out into the community to meet with families face-to-face, a small deed that is just as rewarding for the players as it is to the families.
On Dec. 16, defensive end Vinny Curry, center Julian Vandervelde, defensive tackle Bennie Logan, kicker Alex Henery and punter Donnie Jones came together to provide support for families dealing with cancer in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Through Bringing Hope Home's Adopt-A-Family Program, the five players selected 10 families and paid their non-medical bills while also purchasing, wrapping and hand-delivering presents for children of the affected families.
"It was awesome again this year because I helped one of the families a few years ago and I saw them again this year and talked to the kid whose mom was now cancer-free," Jones said. "They came out to volunteer their time to help out and that was just a great thing to do."
In addition to the five who took part in the Bringing Hope Home Program, center Jason Kelce and guard Todd Herremans participated in an after-school program called Host Sports last Tuesday, providing football equipment to a school in North Philadelphia.
"I want to get more involved with the inner-city schools and the inner-city kids in Philadelphia," Kelce said. "On Tuesday, we went to this after-school program which is designed to get kids involved with athletics, and we gave each one of those kids a football. We also gave the Leprechauns, a team in North Philly, enough balls to sustain through next season. This is always a time of year where we are finding things to do and help out when we can."
While there was still some uncertainty as to what exactly each of the team's units planned to do to help out at the end of last week, veteran guard Evan Mathis said the tradition of helping an area family this year was sure to continue.
"We've had some times where guys put some money together and we put the money in to buy gifts for kids," he said. "Usually each position group will get some money together to provide gifts. We are not exactly sure what we are doing yet and we don't like to brag about it when we do."
One of Mathis' most memorable moments of the holiday season came in 2011 when he and his teammates helped families at a church. The offensive unit purchased items that the church needed, and Mathis remembers how happy they were to receive the items during the season of giving.
"We don't do it to be rewarded. We just do it to help people out," Mathis said. "We're very lucky to be in the position that we're in, make the money that we make, and there are some less fortunate people out there that we have the ability to help. So whenever we get the opportunity to do so, we try to do that."