By Travis Gorsch, @tgorsch3
This Sunday, when Super Bowl LI is played in Houston, more than 100 million people will tune in to watch the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots.
Super Bowl Sunday parties are something we all look forward to for many reasons, my favorite reason being the food. Super Bowl Sunday is second, only to Thanksgiving, when it comes to the amount of food we eat as Americans.
While many of us are looking forward to diving into our favorite Super Bowl recipes, there are 50 million people in the U.S. that lack ability to access adequate food.
Minneapolis restaurateur, Wayne Kostroski, realized the opportunity to capitalize on Americans’ love of food and also tackle this issue when he founded the Taste of the NFL in 1992.
The Taste of the NFL is a 501c3 organization that raises money to support food banks throughout the United States.
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On Saturday, February 4, the Taste of the NFL will host its 26th annual hunger relief event, dubbed ‘Party With a Purpose,’ on the campus of the University of Houston.
The Party With a Purpose fundraising event will include fans, top chefs, and some of the greatest players in NFL history from each of the 32 NFL cities. The purpose of the party is to raise awareness and funds for hunger relief in cities across the country and the food banks that support those communities.
Some of the notable guests include Boston Chef Steve DiFillippo of Davio’s and Former Patriots’ offensive tackle Matt Light. They will be raising money on behalf of The Greater Boston Food Bank.
Guests will have the opportunity to purchase limited edition lunch boxes, enter into a raffle for a grand prize and bid on silent auction items.
The grand prize for the raffle includes two tickets to Super Bowl LI. While silent auction items include experiences ranging from an all-inclusive trip to the Masters Championship to an experience at the Hamilton play on Broadway and even a trip to the CMA Awards Show.
The best part, every $100 raised provides about 800 meals for those in need! To this point the Taste of the NFL has raised more than $25 million to help feed more than 37 million Americans who have turned to their local food banks for assistance.
Can’t make it to Houston for Party with a Purpose? That’s okay, too. You can party from home and still make a difference. In fact, fans from all over the nation have been competing since September, on behalf of their favorite NFL teams, by raising money online for their respective food banks. The funds raised will directly impact the donation of thousands of meals to food banks in each team’s local community.
The Houston Texans are leading the way this season in the Kick Hunger Challenge with a whopping $137,459 raised. Their donations will benefit the Houston Food Bank, which provides 79 million meals to 800,000 individuals annually through their partnership with over 600 agencies that span 18 counties in the area.
The Seattle Seahawks sit in second place with $83,189 with their proceeds going to the Food Lifeline. Food Lifeline provides 91,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs through their 275 members of their food program network. You can check out where you favorite team is in the standings here and which organizations they are supporting.
Even if you aren't able to make a monetary contribution to the cause you can still help out by volunteering at your local food bank. We can make a difference in a number of different ways. Whether it's by increasing awareness or raising funds to help fight hunger in our communities.
If you are interested in fighting for the cause you can call the Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3Hungry to find the nearest program to you. You can also search online for a food bank in your area by visiting Feeding America.
All it takes is a small $10 donation to provide up to 80 meals for those in need. If you wanted to donate $25 that would provide an additional 120 meals. Now imagine the impact we could have if everyone that watched Super Bowl LI got involved in the fight to end hunger.
If each of us made a monetary donation, donated that leftover can of Bush's Baked Beans from our Super Bowl parties, or even just volunteered at our local food bank we would be that much closer to achieving the goal that Kostroski set out to achieve in 1992 when he started the Taste of the NFL. We would be that much closer to ending hunger.