EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Taste of the Vikings, a fundraiser aimed at kicking hunger, will incorporate a new location this year to what has become an annual Twin Cities tradition.
The event allows attendees to take the handoff of food and beverage from Vikings players, who work the event as servers, as part of the game plan to addressing child hunger issues.
"It's always a great event," Vikings kicker Blair Walsh said. "We get to get out there and show our serving skills, which are usually terrible, but really, we're mingling with fans and raising money for the Vikings Children's Fund. I've done it for the first two years I've been here and had a blast.
"You're helping to provide meals for people in this area who need nourishment," Walsh added. "It's a good cause."
The event will feature appearances by Vikings players, coaches and alumni and spotlight dishes from more than 20 of the area's top restaurants. It is scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis. Limited tickets remain available at **vikings.com/taste** or by calling the Vikings ticket office at 952.918.8405.
One of every six Minnesota children lack consistent access to enough food to grow up healthfully, but Taste of the Vikings attendees and sponsors raise money for the Vikings Children's Fund Summer Lunch Program through Second Harvest Heartland. The program provides meals for more than 250,000 Minnesota children who do not receive free or reduced lunches when school is not in session.
Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, a parent of two, said it's good to help provide such an important need.
"As a father, you never want your kids to go hungry, so you always have that soft spot in your heart when you see people in the world that are really struggling to get a meal," Robison said. "It's a great cause for us to be able to give back and do what we can, whether it's a meet and greet with people and donate some money, do those types of things just to be able to put a meal in someone's hand."
The price of one ticket ($175 for non-Season Ticket Members) can provide 525 meals for children in need. Season Ticket Members are offered tickets to Taste of the Vikings for $150.
In addition to the fine food offerings, the event includes appearances by cheerleaders and alumni, beverages provided by E&J Gallo, MillerCoors and Pepsi and a silent auction. Memorabilia to be signed by players will be available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting the Vikings Children's Fund. No outside memorabilia will be permitted.
Robison said Vikings players enjoy the fellowship with fans for the mission of helping others.
"I think it's an amazing event. It's always fun to go back and be able to give back something to the community," Robison said. "It's for a great cause, obviously, and it's just a great time to go out there and meet a bunch of people and really be able to conversate with them. They get to know you as a person, as well as the athlete. It's a great event, all the way around."
About Vikings Children's Fund Summer Lunch Program
The Vikings Children's Fund Summer Lunch Program was founded in 2008 with the purpose of addressing childhood hunger in Minnesota. Through coordinated efforts with Second Harvest Heartland, the program has grown and become a success with creating more meal sites and providing additional SFSP meals for the 1 in 6 Minnesota children experiencing hunger.
About Second Harvest Heartland
Second Harvest Heartland is one of the nation's largest, most efficient and most innovative food banks. In 2013, we delivered more than 65 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves, pantries and other agency partner programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Second Harvest Heartland helps relieve hunger not only by sourcing, warehousing and distributing food, but through data-driven thought leadership and community partnerships that help improve the region's larger hunger relief system. For more information, visit 2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.
About the Taste of the NFL
The Taste of the NFL (TNFL) is a 501c3 that exists to raise awareness and dollars for hunger relief organizations involved in tackling hunger in America. The Minneapolis-based organization conducts national and local fundraising events throughout the year to raise money to combat hunger issues facing millions of Americans. Since 1992, Taste of the NFL has distributed more than $14 million for this critically important cause and is looking forward to its 2014 event on the eve of Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheNFL.com.
Taste of the Vikings Partners
Second Harvest Heartland, E&J Gallo Wine, MillerCoors, Pepsi, Clear Channel, Unilever, UnitedHealthcare and Kare11.