Ben: 'It's about giving back'

On Father's Day, Ben Roethlisberger had the opportunity to do what he loves most.

Spend time with his family, including his three kids.

And to make it even better, he got to do it enjoying one of his favorite things…playing football.

Roethlisberger hosted the 11th Annual Ben Roethlisberger Football ProCamp at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Sunday, with 250 kids participating.

"To me this is what it's about," said Roethlisberger. "I have an unbelievable platform to share so many things, whether it's about life, faith, family, football. To be able to come out here and teach football, sportsmanship, fun, that is what it's all about. I just want people to understand you can have fun and be safe if you are taught the right way. That is what we are doing."

Roethlisberger's three kids were all at the camp, and for the first time his oldest son, Benjamin, was able to take part.

"This is the first year he has participated," said Roethlisberger, who was excited he is now old enough to join the fun. "People say why are you doing this on Father's Day. That is the reason. We get to have dads out here. We have families out here. It's a way for families to spend the day together and have fun.

"(Being a dad) keeps you in shape. it keeps you humble. It's awesome to be able to share things with your kids, especially about faith and family and what is most important. Football is a side note to that. I joke my son doesn't know about being a quarterback. He can throw the heck out of the ball, but he doesn't know anything about it. Just being a father is humbling, a huge responsibility. Nobody should take it lightly. I know I don't, but I want to raise my kids to be the best that they can be."

While the day was all about football, there was another aspect that was a huge part of it. Each of the kids were asked to bring food donations with them as a part of the Kraft Heinz Company Foundation's "Fight Hunger with a Pro," with all of the food benefitting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Over 4,100 items were donated, enough food to provide 30,000 meals to 5,000 families.

"It is so special to have the campers here today help support the food bank and carry out our mission," said Lisa Scales, President and CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. "With their help, they are providing enough food for 30,000 meals today. It's also so special for us to have Ben give back to the food bank and the community and all the people we serve. He is an athlete, so he knows how important it is to have good nutrition. We want everyone, especially children, to have enough nutritious food to eat to lead healthy and active lives.

"This is about neighbors helping neighbors. It's about the Steelers stepping up and being champions off the field as they are on the field."

Roethlisberger led the way for the kids loading bags filled with the food, and each of the campers followed, picking up the items and filling the bags for the food bank.

"We want them to know it's about giving back," said Roethlisberger. "We as football players have an amazing platform. We can do so many things. We like to give back. This is an opportunity for the kids to come here, not to just play football, but to see what it is to give back.

"There are so many causes we can be a part of in the community. Homelessness and hunger are a big part of it. It's an easy thing for the kids to pack bags and walk through the lines and put items in the bags. Any way we can help give back to the community we call home is special."

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