On Tuesday evening, Brent Celek's Take Flight Foundation helped distribute Thanksgiving meals to 200 Philadelphia families ...
Each year, countless families across the country struggle to make ends meet around the holidays. When you have a child who is chronically or critically ill, it becomes even harder.
On Tuesday, Eagles tight end Brent Celek did his best to make this week a little easier for Philadelphia area families.
Two days before Thanksgiving, Celek and his Take Flight Foundation partnered with ACME Markets to hand out Thanksgiving meals to 200 families with critically and chronically ill children. Patients from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Temple Pediatric Care came to the ACME on 19th and Oregon Avenue to meet Celek and get their fill of Thanksgiving fixings.
Celek also brought autographed footballs for the children, took pictures with the families, and made more than a few nights along the way.
It was the second straight year that Celek participated in the event, something he looks forward to and loves having the opportunity to be a part of.
"We started Operation Thanksgiving because we just wanted to help the families and sick kids, kids that are in the hospital," Celek explained Tuesday. "Any way that we can give back, we want to do that.
"We're just trying to make it a little bit easier."
As fans and families paraded up to Celek to meet the superstar tight end, he was greeted with a slew of Eagles jerseys, hats, and jackets. Children cobbled together the courage to go up and say hi to the eighth-year tight end.
Celek engaged with every family, talking a little shop with a few knowledgeable fans and making sure each family understood that, as much as they appreciated what he was doing, he appreciated them.
"It's very important [to give back], especially here in this city," Celek said. "This city has given me everything that I have, and to be able to give back, and give back during the holidays, is huge.
"I see how the people appreciate it, and we're going to continue to do it."
Of course, Philadelphia is a football city, and this week's matchup with the Dallas Cowboys is the talk of the town. As families carted their brown boxes full of Bird Day fixins, it became clear that Celek's play on Thanksgiving meant nearly as much to them as the food they'll be eating thanks to his foundation.
"Go get 'em," a father said with a grin, his daughters wearing matching Eagles raincoats. "Shred them," a mother said, wearing a black Eagles jersey.
Celek gave these families food for the holidays, and they're counting on him to bring home a win as well.
And Celek wouldn't have it any other way.
"I'm really excited," Celek said with a smile. "I know the fans are very excited. This is a big one."