EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings and Polaris on Wednesday began offering "Beanies that Benefit."
Driven by Polaris, the black and purple custom-designed winter hats are available to the public with a minimum $20 donation that will benefit Every Meal.
The Polaris Foundation will match donations on every hat, further boosting Every Meal's weekend backpack food program that helps families dealing with food insecurities through a discreet, dignified manner.
"Through our partnership with the Vikings, we've done 'apparel for good,' as we like to call it, for a number of years," said Polaris Director of Corporate Branding and Partnerships Holly Spaeth. "This year is no different. We will be offering custom beanies. For a $20 donation, you get a beanie, and the Polaris Foundation is going to match that donation, with all of those proceeds going to Every Meal."
Every Meal President and Founder Rob Williams said the nonprofit that began at one school as The Sheridan Story in 2013 has expanded to more than 400 schools across Minnesota.
"It's great to see the organization grow, but that means there's that need out there," Williams said. "That's why we're growing. We're growing to fill that need. It's a good thing we're there to fill that need, but it's sad that there's a need there. Over 300,000 kids in our community are facing food insecurity."
Vikings linebacker and 2020 Community Man of the Year Eric Kendricks personally experienced the benefits of food assistance during his youth in California. He connected with The Sheridan Story earlier in his career and has since strengthened his support. On Tuesday, he joined volunteers from Every Meal and Polaris to pack 2,000 bags of food in the parking lot by TCO Stadium.
Vikings LB Eric Kendricks joined volunteers from Every Meal and Polaris to pack 2,000 bags of food that helps families dealing with food insecurities through a discreet, dignified manner.
"In my first or second year here, I got introduced to them and am definitely just trying to keep [supporting them] because they're a great organization and I like working with them," Kendricks said. "It's going to get pretty cold soon, so make sure you get a beanie and support [Every Meal] as well."
Williams said $250 provides one weekend program for an entire school year. The weekend program helps bridge the gaps between school weeks and better prepares students to return to their classrooms each week.
"One in nine families, or about one in six children, in Minnesota is experiencing food insecurity," Williams said. "Essentially, they don't always know if they're going to have food, or the right food, for their next meal. I hear over and over again from principals, 'There's kids in our community that need support. They don't have food on the weekends, and they come to school not ready to learn. Is there anything you can do to help the kids at our school?' That's why Every Meal exists, to support those kids because we want those kids to have the food they need to learn and grow. That's really what it's all about."