MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings and Second Harvest Heartland believe one hungry child is one too many.
The organizations have long partnered to reduce food insecurities for Minnesotans with the goal of ending childhood hunger.
This year, the Vikings and Second Harvest Heartland are taking their efforts to U.S. Bank Stadium, which will host the annual Taste of the Vikings fundraiser for the first time.
Taste of the Vikings, presented by Land O'Lakes, Inc., is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14 (click here to purchase tickets).
In addition to personal interaction with players and coaches, this year's event will feature several new experiences that will be up for bidding.
Eleven attendees who submit winning bids will have the opportunity to meet players in the Vikings locker room, receive an autographed football and run through the Vikings ship onto the field as the Vikings official photographer captures the thrilling moment.
Ten winning bidders will have the opportunity to participate in an exclusive wine tasting and dessert pairing with cornerback Trae Waynes and Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel in the Founder's Lounge at U.S. Bank Stadium.
An event ticket is required to bid on the VIP experiences. Bidding is open now at bidpal.net/tasteofthevikings and will remain open until the night of the event.
All attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy signature dishes presented by Minneapolis-St. Paul's finest dining establishments, as well as wine from E&J Gallo and MillerCoors and Pepsi products.
Taste of the Vikings tickets are $150 for Vikings Season Ticket Members and $175 for all others.
The price of one ticket can provide 525 meals for Minnesota children in need.
"Our fight against childhood hunger requires a constant effort to improve the Taste of the Vikings in a way that increases funds and awareness for such a critical cause," said Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren. "Hosting the event during the summer months at U.S. Bank Stadium brings renewed energy and vibrancy, and we hope our fans will join us in making a difference right here in our community. No child should ever go hungry."
The origin of Taste of the Vikings can be traced to when Minnesota hosted Super Bowl XXVI, and the success of the first led to inception of a league-wide endeavor in conjunction with the NFL's championship each year.
The work has continued closer to home, where more than 150,000 children in Minnesota are helped by Second Harvest Heartland annually.
Forty percent of the K-12 students in Minnesota rely on free or reduced-price lunches, leaving a potential void for children when school is not in session.
Currently, one in six children in Minnesota is at risk of hunger, but another round of help is continuing.
Second Harvest Heartland provides 80 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves in Minnesota and western Wisconsin each year. As one of the nation's largest and most efficient food banks, Second Harvest Heartland has made an impressive push to make healthy, wholesome foods more accessible.
In 2008, fresh produce, dairy, meat and bakery goods accounted for 23 percent of the 41,000-plus pounds of food provided. Last year, those foods accounted for 55 percent of the 92,700-plus pounds of food that were donated.
Second Harvest Heartland CEO Rob Zeaske said the organization appreciates the help it is receiving from the Vikings, Land O'Lakes, event sponsors and fans to end childhood hunger.
"Thanks to the tremendous support from the Minnesota Vikings leadership, players and fans, the Taste of the Vikings raises critical funds that helps support Second Harvest Heartland's child hunger relief efforts," Zeaske said. "Together with the Vikings generosity, we are able to provide more meals to more local kids in need. These programs make a significant difference in the lives of kids who might otherwise go hungry when their families are struggling. Thank you."
Land O'Lakes Foundation Executive Director Lydia Botham said, "As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O'Lakes is committed to helping people who struggle to put food on their table. The Taste of the Vikings is a great event that helps us support those in need."
About Taste of the NFL
Taste of the NFL is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to raising awareness and funds for hunger relief organizations in the 32 NFL cities and across the country. Proudly Coming Home to Minnesota & celebrating its 27th anniversary, the organization conducts national and local fundraising events throughout the year, culminating in the annual Party with a Purpose on Super Bowl Eve. Since its inception at the 1992 Minnesota Super Bowl, Taste of the NFL has raised more than $25 million, which has provided over 200 million meals for Americans. 100 percent of proceeds raised go directly to supporting food banks in each of the 32 NFL cities.
About Second Harvest Heartland
Second Harvest Heartland is one of the nation's largest, most efficient and most innovative hunger relief organizations. Second Harvest Heartland provides an average of 75 percent of all food distributed by its food shelf partners, and in 2016, provided more than 80 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves, pantries and other partner programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Second Harvest Heartland leads through innovation, finding efficient, effective solutions to connect the full resources of our community with our hungry neighbors. For more information, visit *2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117. *
About Land O'Lakes
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2016 annual sales of $13 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 215 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 95 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField® United and Land O'Lakes SUSTAINTM. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.