To kick off the third annual Eagles Healthy Food Drive, Brandon Bair, Cody Parkey and SWOOP teamed up with 2015 Eagles Care partner Greener Partners and 2013 Eagles Care partner the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger for a fun afternoon of delivering fresh crops to a local food bank.
The group started at Guild House Farm, where the harvesting began. Parkey and Bair pulled a large amount of produce from the gardens as a way to promote healthy eating in the City of Philadelphia.
"We started and picked some Swiss chard and beets," Parkey said. "I've never eaten either, but they looked delicious."
"Picking them was the cool part," added Bair. "We got to pick what we were delivering and learn a little bit about them. I'm going to now plant Swiss chard in my garden. It was fun."
After pulling the crops, which are tended to by Greener Partners, the Eagles met SWOOP in front of the building, who was ready to help load everything into the Eagles' helmet cart. Once the bins were secured on the cart, everyone was off to the food bank.
The ride, however, was an experience for the players. Bair and Parkey were up front in the cart, while SWOOP hung out on the back waving to fans as the three drove through Philadelphia. After about a 20-minute ride, and a few close calls with SWOOP, they all made it safely to their destination.
"He was not cooperating," Parkey joked of SWOOP. "But, we made it in one piece and were able to get the food to the Green Light pantry. It worked out well."
Once at the Drueding Center, which is a transitional housing program that "serves more than 400 homeless and formerly homeless families" each year, the two players unloaded the Swiss chard and beets into the pantry before visiting with children who live there.
For the players, seeing the impact the fresh food had on these kids and will continue to have on them was the most rewarding part of the experience.
"You look at those kids that we went in and saw, and for them to get the opportunity to get fresh food right out of a garden, I mean how many kids get that in the inner city like this?" Bair said. "It's kind of a neat thing to be able to do that and everything else that comes in with the schooling they have there and the place for them to stay and get back on their feet. It was just a really cool thing all around with the food and the program they had set up for the families."
The Eagles Healthy Food Drive will be collecting healthy food online throughout the month of November. One in every four Philadelphia residents is at risk of hunger, making the cause all the more important.
If you would like to help, please donate to our drive site where it's easy to purchase healthy food online. You'll immediately receive a receipt for your donation by email and at the end of the drive, all donated food will be delivered directly to the pantries.