An element of the NFL that is often overlooked is the time and energy given up by players, coaches and staff members throughout the football season and the impact those sacrifices can have on family and friends. In an effort to help with that adjustment, the spouses and significant others of Vikings coaches, players and staff members take time to gather throughout the year and bond as a group.
As the women’s group has grown, so have its efforts to positively impact the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. This past Tuesday, as part of the annual Minnesota Vikings Women’s Dinner, Jane, Audrey and Beth Wilf incorporated a philanthropic element to the already successful event. Attendees were encouraged to bring silent auction item donations to support the annual Taste of the Vikings, an event that raises funds for summer meals for Minnesota children in need, as well as food donations to benefit the Second Harvest Heartland Food Shelf Program. Those attending offered autographed items, dinners with a player or players, visits to schools or offices, and other donations for the Taste of the Vikings event, while also supplying food that is immediately needed at local food shelves. To cap the evening event, Second Harvest Heartland CEO Rob Zeaske spoke with the group about the impact of their donations, the goals of Second Harvest and the ways in which hunger-relief organizations can be more efficient and innovative in providing assistance.
“The focus of this year’s event was not just about gathering as a group but also about making a difference in our community,” said Jane Wilf. “The annual dinner is a great opportunity for all of us to give back to the Minnesota children and families who are struggling, and we hope to make this a yearly tradition.”
“Like the players, coaches and staff of the Vikings, the spouses and significant others have a strong passion for giving back,” said Audrey Wilf. “We see strong potential to grow this group into an official Vikings Women’s Organization that can further strengthen the Vikings commitment to the community.”
The Vikings women’s efforts on Tuesday night tied in with the team’s overall hunger awareness efforts throughout this week. In partnership with United Healthcare and Second Harvest Heartland, the Vikings also held a food packing event for local food shelves and participated in the World Hunger Challenge Marathon, an international event designed to raise awareness for childhood hunger on a global scale.
But the Vikings hunger awareness efforts are not finished. This Sunday, prior to the Vikings-Cardinals game, the team is asking fans to bring non-perishable food items to be collected at all gates beginning at 10:00 a.m. With hunger doubling over the last five years and more than half a million Minnesotans missing an estimated 100 million meals every year, now is the time for you to help make an impact!