Did You Know NFL Teams Are Kicking Hunger, and Have Been for 25 Years?

Taste of the NFL logo, copyrights, and trademarks of the National Football League / Taste of the NFL.
Taste of the NFL logo, copyrights, and trademarks of the National Football League / Taste of the NFL.

By Kay Whatley, Editor

Since 1992, National Football League (NFL) teams have held events, teamed with local food banks and top chefs, to raise funds to feed hungry families in their cities. Taste of the NFL events offer evenings of gourmet food, music, player visits, and fan networking to raise funds for food banks across the nation.

According to the Taste of the NFL nonprofit,

As you read this, millions of people in America are struggling with hunger. In fact, 1 out of 6 people in our country face this serious issue – many of them are children and seniors. For over 25 years, Taste of the NFL has been working to kick hunger. While we’re proud to report that we’ve raised more than $25 million during that time, we’re saddened to report that the need to do more is greater than ever. We hope you’ll support our efforts by becoming a contributor or partner in our mission.

Taste of the NFL’s Mission is “To address the needs of the hungry and homeless by raising awareness and money through special events and programs.” Net proceeds from events — held in the 32 NFL team cities and at the Pro Football Hall of Fame — are donated to team-local Feeding America affiliates and other hunger relief organizations. Basically, where the teams play, and where their fans support them, they help needy families to eat.

The founder of the Taste of the NFL is culinary entrepreneur, Wayne Kostroski. More about Mr. Kostroski, the founding of the event, and its history, is available here.

Three events are coming up this summer in Denver CO, Cincinnati OH, and Canton OH.

Taste of the Broncos

Coming up on June 14, 2016, the Taste of the Broncos event starts at 6:30pm at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver CO. Live entertainment will be at the Noble Energy Sports Legends Mall.

Denver Broncos players and alumni will be on-hand, along with other special guests. Buy tickets for this Denver event at www.denverbroncos.com/community/tasteofthebroncos.html.

General Admission is $150 per person, and ticket-holders get access to the “gourmet tailgate” put together by 30 Denver-area restaurants, and complimentary beverages. VIP tickets offer additional benefits; however, VIP tickets are already sold out. As of May 24, 2016 (article date), General Admission tickets are still available.

Money raised by the Taste of the Broncos event benefits Denver Broncos Charities, including Food Bank of the Rockies, headquartered at 10700 E 45th Street, Denver CO

“Food Bank of the Rockies is grateful for the generosity of the Denver Broncos, chefs, restaurants and attendees for helping us provide more meals to hungry families.  1 in 7 Coloradans lives with food insecurity and doesn’t always know where they’ll get their next meal.  Every dollar we receive from this event will allow us to distribute four meals to men, women and children in need. The support we receive from this event is phenomenal and makes a huge difference for our community,” said Kevin Seggelke, President and CEO, Food Bank of the Rockies.

From Janie Gianotsos of Food Bank of the Rockies:

  • Food Bank of the Rockies distributed nearly 46 million meals to the community, last year.
  • Donating $1 provides four meals.
  • They distribute food to more than 400,000 people each year.
  • About half the food distributed feeds children.
  • 96 cents of every dollar they receive goes toward food distribution.
  • Food Bank of the Rockies is a 4-star (highest) rated charity by Charity Navigator, BBB accredited, and a member of Feeding America.

To donate directly to the food bank, call 303.371.9250 or visit their website at www.foodbankrockies.org.

Cincinnati Bengals Taste of the NFL

The Cincinnati Bengals Taste of the NFL event is being held June 15, 2016, at the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati OH. Join this team event from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at Paul Brown Stadium.

This Bengals event benefits the Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati OH. Of donations received, this food bank spends 94% on programs and services to the community. More about the Freestore Foodbank is online at freestorefoodbank.org.

General Admission tickets for the Cincinnati Bengals Taste of the NFL event are $175, with other, higher-level tickets available with extra perks. To purchase event tickets, visit tasteofthenflcincinnati.org.

Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2121 George Halas Drive NW, in Canton OH, this August 30, 2016, event offers attendees a chance to support a local food pantry, enjoy tasty food, and visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s awesome there! If you can’t go to a local Taste of the NFL event, go to this one at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and you’ll be able to enjoy the best of football history and help an Ohio food pantry too. The event begins runs 5:30-9pm, though their VIP Lounge opens at 5pm.

General Admission tickets were $150 last year, with ticket-holder amenities including unlimited food and wine tastings, a commemorative wine glass, and one autograph per Hall of Famer.

Tickets will be available from the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank website, which in the coming weeks will include information on tickets, the restaurants, supporters, and Hall of Famers engaged for the event.

The Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank is based at 350 Opportunity Parkway, in Akron OH.

More about Taste of the NFL

According to the Taste of the NFL website:

Since 1992, the Taste of the NFL (a 501(c)(3) organization) has rallied the country’s top chefs and the NFL’s greatest players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States.

This is done through via three avenues:

  • on-line donations during the KICK HUNGER CHALLENGE® (September – January)
  • locally hosted Taste Of The NFL events by an NFL team and their food bank featuring their players and local chefs
  • The Super Bowl Taste Of The NFL – The Party with a Purpose® is held on the eve of Super Bowl in the host city. This event is a unique way to experience exceptional cuisine, meet NFL players and coaches, and support our fight against hunger.

Through the efforts of the Taste of the NFL nonprofit, its volunteers, hundreds of chefs, NFL players, and ticket-buyers, the events of the past 25 years have helped raise millions of dollars for food banks across the United States. Join the fun at an event near you, meet team players, enjoy the food, and help feed local families while you play.

To find out more about the nonprofit, the food pantries served, and how to get involved, visit www.tasteofthenfl.com/events.

With The Grey Area news founded and based out of North Carolina, some of you reading this are likely wondering about NC’s NFL team. Taste of the Panthers has already passed for this year, with their May 17, 2016, event benefitting Charlotte NC’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, 500 B Spratt Street, in Charlotte NC. If you’d like to donate to this food bank, call 704.376.1785 or visit their website at http://www.secondharvestmetrolina.org. Next year, Taste of the Panthers ticket information will likely be posted on that site.

Ed. Note: Go Broncos! (Had to say it for The Grey Area newspaper’s founder and photographer, Frank Whatley, who passed away in 2016. He loved his Broncos and Denver CO, where we provide expanded coverage.)

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