APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — Eric Kendricks is the first to admit he didn't come from much.
But on his rise from growing up in a single-parent household to becoming a starting linebacker for the Vikings, Kendricks has always looked for ways to give back.
The 25-year-old did just that Friday afternoon as he teamed up with RBA Consulting to present a check for $20,000 to The Sheridan Story, a local organization that aims to quell childhood hunger. The organization provides a bag of food to children on Fridays so they have something to eat over weekends.
Kendricks, who made the presentation at Westview Elementary School, said he's simply trying to do his part to help the community around him.
"My mom worked her butt off to keep food on the table for us and a roof over our head," Kendricks said. "I can't say I didn't see (childhood hunger) in the neighborhood I grew up in.
"I understand that I needed help as a child and that I was given that help from all types of areas," Kendricks added. "Whether it was family, friends, my teachers … I understand that it takes a village to raise a child. I want to help be that village."
The donation came from Kendricks' 'Sacks for Kids' campaign, which raised money for each sack the Vikings recorded during the 2016 season.
Rob Williams, the Executive Director of the Sheridan Story, said the $20,000 will provide 5,000 bags of food for children.
Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks presented a check for $20,000 to The Sheridan Story, a local organization that aims to quell childhood hunger.
"It's a pretty hidden thing. It's not always visible externally, even to their peers of their teachers," Williams said. "Our idea was to give them a bag of food to take home for the weekend."
Kendricks helped pass out bags of food in lockers at the school. The bags contained tuna, rice, applesauce, corn and cream of mushroom soup.
According to Williams, 100,000 kids in the Twin Cities area live with food insecurity and don't always know where there next meal will come from. The Sheridan Story partners with 140 schools across the state to help provide assistance.
Westview is included in the partnership, as principal Tami Staloch-Schultz said 160 of the school's 450 kids are aided by The Sheridan Story.
"That money goes a long ways," Staloch-Schultz said. "(Eric) is such a great person of character to do this.
"Now when the kids are watching the Vikings play and they see him on the big screen, they're going to think it's cool," Staloch-Schultz added. "He was here and had a great message. It was so energizing."
Kendricks spoke to students about the importance of doing well in school and setting goals to focus on. He was joined by his brother, Mychal, a linebacker for the Eagles.
"I'm not too far from elementary school myself," Kendricks told the students. "I see myself in the crowd just like you guys.
"We grew up just like you guys — playing outside, going to school every day, turning in your homework," Kendricks added. "As you learn and get older, you have to develop good habits."
Kendricks is entering his third season with the Vikings and has led the team in tackles each of the past two years. He said he'd been wanting to make a bigger impact in the Minnesota community.
"I knew I wanted to help kids," Kendricks said. "The partnership with Sheridan Story … they're really awesome people, and I love the cause.
"It was an easy thing (because) I saw an opportunity where I could help with what I do on the football field," Kendricks added.
Mychal Kendricks said he's proud of the way his brother has grown up over the past few years.
"He's my brother … I've seen him evolve since he was young," Mychal Kendricks said. "I've seen him mature as a man. He's very responsible, very true to his craft.
"He's just a good person. You can't say anything bad about the guy, and I'm just very proud of him," Mychal Kendricks added.
The Sheridan Story was founded in May of 2013. Williams said the program was spawned after administrators at Sheridan Elementary School in Minneapolis found kids were hoarding food on Friday in order to have something to eat over the weekend.
"We're trying to get the word out about the issue and what we're doing to solve it," Williams said. "We don't have much of any marketing budget, so that star power and attention that Eric brings is very significant."
About RBA Consulting
RBA is a national digital and technology consultancy that combines expertise in strategy, design and technology to close the gap between ideas and results. Based in Wayzata, Minnesota, RBA's employees are passionate about helping clients transform their businesses through digital and technology solutions and are committed to supporting local organizations through its RBA Cares community volunteer program and RBA Foundation.