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.
SAINT LOUIS PARK, Minn. –The Women of the Vikings applied teamwork off the field on Tuesday to help multiple Minnesota women's shelters.
To raise awareness and support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Vikings along with Matter, a Minnesota non-profit organization, loaded approximately $400,000 worth of donated items for distribution to 10 Minnesota women's shelters.
"We've been working with Matter as a partner to find innovative and progressive ways that we can, as an organization, engage with our community to make an impact," Director of Women's Initiatives Tami Krause said. "We've just been having this ongoing dialogue where we're always looking for, 'What can we do next? What would be a way that we can make an impact today? What resources do we have right now?' "
Krause and the Vikings worked with Matter to locate women's shelters that were in need and could benefit from donations that were collected prior to the Vikings home game against the Houston Texans and from outside companies, including The Apothecary and Patterson Dental.
"What we're really about here at Matter is trying to create a movement of people," Matter President Quenton Marty said. "We're an organization, but much more than that, a movement of people who really care about everyone in this world having access to live a full and healthy life.
"We're really excited about the partnership that we have with the Vikings," Marty continued. "We work with a lot great companies […]. We just feel like companies are the bedrock of our community here, and they have the ability to get a lot of things done."
The Vikings, who were **named the 2016 Company That Matters**, have worked with the nonprofit a number of times, including a Women of the Vikings event during Vikings training camp during which volunteers packed healthy food into Matter boxes to be distributed throughout the Twin Cities community.
Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren and former Vikings long snapper Mike Morris joined the Women of the Vikings and Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders in the effort.
"When you're here and come to Matter, you realize that there are certain issues in this world that we all need to figure out a way to make better, to do more, to make a difference," Warren said. "Organizations such as Matter, and the great work that they do, just really reiterates why the Vikings are so pleased to have them as a partner and to really be able to hold hands and walk forward together.
"There are so many people in this world who struggle on a daily basis," Warren added. "And with our resources and our strength and our opportunities and our contacts, we can really change the world."
Prior to packing, the group received a tour of the Matter warehouse that featured a unique look at the different countries in which Matter has made an impact: from helping provide fresh water in India, to shipping re-purposed medical equipment to Uganda, to helping support education costs in Haiti. Also highlighted was the hunger problem that exists right here in the Twin Cities.
"This is one of those unique organizations that has touch points in multiple continents," Warren said. "They really do make a difference, and there really could not be a more applicable name than 'Matter.' "
Following the tour, volunteers worked together to move and load pallets of personal care products and Matter boxes into vehicles of 10 partnering organizations – including Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Mary's Place and Catholic Charities – that delivered the products to women's shelters.
Morris enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Women of the Vikings on an assembly line to move packed boxes.
"What really matters is helping out and giving back to others that have less than we do. We're all in this together – let's pick somebody else up who are unable to do it," said Morris, who said he grew up baling hay on an Iowa farm and always appreciates hard work. "It's a call to duty."
During the loading process, a few women from local shelters told Krause that they were so excited about the toiletries products, as they had run out of toothbrushes and toothpaste in the summer.
"There's a need everywhere, as simple as just your kids brushing their teeth at night, and these women need that," Krause said. "We're just excited that we can partner together."