*MINNEAPOLIS – *The Vikings gave their fans a win on Sunday, but prior to kickoff, fans did some giving of themselves in anticipation of Thanksgiving.
The Vikings along with Matter, a Minnesota nonprofit organization, joined forces at U.S. Bank Stadium to pack boxes of non-perishable food to be distributed to the Twin Cities community.
The Women of the Vikings have played a primary role in this year’s partnership with Matter, and Director of Women’s Initiatives Tami Krause said Sunday’s packing event went above and beyond what they expected.
“We had so many fans that stopped, came over and took the time to help,” Krause said. “Even though it was freezing cold and they were excited to get into the stadium, they saw what we were doing and wanted to help make a difference. And they saw how easy it was to just get in line and come through to pack a box. It was fun to see their excitement.”
According to Gates Lindquist of Matter, the event was a family affair, and one father-son duo spent the majority of the morning out on The Commons. The pair alone packed 75 boxes before attending the game.
In addition to fans and the Women of the Vikings, the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, Vikings alumni and CenturyLink employee volunteers also helped in the effort. After breaking a Matter packing record with 1,385 boxes at training camp this past summer, the Vikings community came together to shatter that benchmark, packing 1,542 boxes. The amount packed will provide nearly 25,000 meals for individuals who need them.
The Vikings and Matter on Tuesday worked to distribute the packed boxes to eight Salvation Army locations around the Twin Cities. Approximately 25 volunteers split up into two groups, each going to unload at four sites.
Vikings and Matter Distribute Personal Care Items to Minnesota Shelters
To raise awareness and support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota non-profit organization Matter distributed donated items to 10 Minnesota women???s shelters at the Matter warehouse.
“We have a history with the Salvation Army, where during Thanksgiving we’ve always come out and helped made an impact on Thanksgiving Day,” Krause said. “This year [we have a road game] and wondered, ‘How can we still make an impact when we’re going to be gone?’ So we came up with the idea of having our fans help engage.”
The boxes delivered Tuesday will be handed out for individuals who receive meals through the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving to take home.
“We’re hoping to make a double impact on that day,” Krause said.
Matter President Quenton Marty said he continues to be impressed by the Vikings and the way they have been able to help serve those in Minnesota.
“Companies are the bedrock of this community, and the Minnesota Vikings lead the way in that,” Marty said. “There’s no more recognizable brand in our community than the Vikings, so we are so thankful that we can partner with them. We had staff out packing boxes before the game, we have staff out here today […] we’re just so grateful to [Vikings Chief Operating Officer] Kevin Warren, Brett [Taber] and Tami for really bolstering Matter’s work in the community.”
Added Marty: “It’s really fun to do good.”
Salvation Army Captain Jim Brickson was thrilled to see so many people working together in the cold weather to make a difference for the Thanksgiving holiday. He smiled as he watched a group of volunteers form an assembly line to load boxes onto pallets.
“This is a great surprise, and it just shows how good Minnesota is,” Brickson said. “They just embrace their neighborhood and their community – it’s just a great deal.
“[This project] shows that the Vikings are way more than just a football team,” Brickson continued. “This is just a great, successful event that they’ve put together, a great partnership with Matter and with the Salvation Army.”