EAGAN, Minn. — Kyle Rudolph and his family are helping provide support during uncertain times, and they're inviting Vikings fans who are able to join the effort.
Kyle and his wife Jordan on Monday made a personal donation to Second Harvest Heartland that will provide 82,000 meals to Minnesotans who are being hit hardest by repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and school cancelations.
"Growing up, I never had to worry about not having meals if we didn't have school, and that's not the case for a lot of kids around our community," Kyle told Vikings.com. "There's a lot of families who are going without meals because mom and/or dad aren't able to work right now … so we wanted to do something here for the families in our community that we know are being directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"What better way than to kick it off with 82,000 meals?" Kyle added. "We kind of like the number 82 in our house, so we thought that would be a great way to get this started, with a goal of much more. We have unbelievable support from a few people who have always been behind us through different hospital initiatives that we've done, and they're right there behind us helping us with this."
The Rudolphs' efforts join those of Kyle's fellow Vikings, as well.
Former linebacker Chad Greenway, along with receiver Adam Thielen and linebacker Anthony Barr, also have announced respective gifts and campaigns to ease the pandemic's effects.
Kyle isn't surprised to see several Vikings working to make a difference.
"I think about how many guys stepped up [to promote] social justice. How many guys have stepped up and helped kids across the community – whether it be Adam and [the Thielen Foundation] helping kids with mental health, the things that Chad has done in the community, Anthony providing scholarships [through Raise The Barr]," Kyle said. "There are so many guys in our locker room who have done so much for kids and families throughout our community."
He added that the philanthropic energies reflect the values of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, General Manager Rick Spielman and the Wilf family ownership group.
"It all starts with them," Kyle said. "The Wilf family did an unbelievable job kind of kicking things off from a charitable standpoint when this all happened. We just kind of follow them, and they set a great example for us as players."
The Rudolphs have had an ongoing relationship with Second Harvest Heartland, which is also the nonprofit Thielen is partnering with.
"We know the great work that they do here in our community," Kyle explained. "We know that right now is a really difficult time for [many], and Second Harvest is there to help them. We want to support Second Harvest so they can support the families in our community."
Kyle and Jordan have set a goal of raising $200,000 for Second Harvest Heartland, which will provide 600,000 meals for local families.
They have set up the Rudy's Meal Plan campaign and are encouraging whoever is able to join them in supporting the nonprofit. Those who choose to donate can enter a custom amount, or they can choose from a number of "give hope" gift amounts. For instance, $100 will feed a family of four for one month.
"Hopefully we will reach our goal with some of our supporters throughout the community and also Vikings fans," Kyle said. "It would be an unbelievable opportunity to provide more than half a million meals to families and to people here in our community."
If you would like to donate to Rudy's Meal Plan, click here.
Continuing support of U of M Masonic Children's Hospital
While the Rudolphs work to help provide healthy nutrition local families, they also are continuing support of the University of Masonic Children's Hospital.
Kyle and Jordan have a longstanding relationship with the hospital, which also is being impacted by the pandemic.
Because of concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, public areas of the hospital – which include Kyle Rudolph's End Zone – have been closed down, and Kyle is proud of the effort Jordan has helped spearhead.
"There's a huge need for things right now to occupy the kids' time," Kyle explained. "So Jordan's taken it upon herself to gather and provide as many games and puzzles and books and coloring books. Anything that she can think of that will allow these kids to do what we want them to do in our space – and that's be kids – while they're unable to be in there."