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Vikings Help Bring 'Taste of NFL' Home to Minnesota for Super Bowl LII

Posted Sep 12, 2017

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – After more than 25 years, Taste of the NFL is coming home to Minnesota.

The Taste of the NFL program has been working to kick hunger since it was established in 1992 in conjunction with Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis. Since that time, the initiative has raised and distributed $25 million, which equates 200 million meals for children and families around the country.

Wayne Kostroski, Founder of Taste of the NFL, is thrilled to see the “lasting legacy” that his program has become since its first year. The annual “Party With a Purpose” event is held in the Super Bowl host city the evening before the big game, and all proceeds benefit local food banks.

“Coming back home and working with the Minnesota Vikings is just exceptional,” Kostroski said, expressing gratitude to the Wilf Family ownership group. “The Vikings are an exceptional organization. Everybody from the top all the way through every level has been very cooperative – not just for me, but I see what they do in the community.

“They’re the real deal,” Kostroski added.

Kostroski, along with members of the Vikings community and representatives of Second Harvest Heartland, announced the kickoff of the year-long giving season for the Kick Hunger Challenge fundraising campaign, which adds to the funds obtained through the main event.

Also new this year is the implementation of a match sponsor for the Kick Hunger Challenge.

Brett Taber, Vikings Executive Director of Social Impact, announced Tuesday that the newly established Minnesota Vikings Foundation will be pledging a match of amount $25,000.

“The Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf ownership group and the entire organization are thrilled to be a part of Taste of the NFL,” Taber said. “Ever since [Taste of the NFL debuted] here, the Vikings have held the annual ‘Taste of the Vikings’ event to help support this great cause.

“[We will] encourage our fans, encourage our state, to rally behind the cause and really, truly make the Taste of the NFL here in Minnesota the best that it’s ever been,” Taber added.

Kostroski thanked the Vikings for taking the lead on the match sponsor program.

“We couldn’t start it with such a bang, the kickoff if you will, of this program without the [Vikings] Foundation and certainly the support of the team and the organization,” Kostroski said. “So I’m really excited about this and looking forward to a great season.”

Serving this year as Taste of the NFL National Chef Host will be Andrew Zimmern, and the National Player Host is former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber, who also was in attendance to kick off the campaign.

Following the brief press conference, Leber joined Kostroski, Taber, Second Harvest Heartland CEO Rob Zeaske, local chef Thomas Boemer and members of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders to volunteer in the warehouse. The group weighed and packed potatoes that will be part of resources benefiting the local community.

“I’ve helped out when I was an active player with the Vikings at the local Taste events, so I definitely saw the impact that they have for the local community,” Leber said. “I’m definitely honored to be a part of it.

“As a former player, I can say this: food is a basic right in this country,” Leber continued. “And the fact that there are people, children and adults, that don’t have a basic right to food and meals, that’s something that I think we can all stand behind [to change]. That’s something that everybody can be encouraged by, inspired by, and want to help out.”