Kid Volunteers Get Vikings Autograph, Give Back
For the past few years, ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato, Minn. has distributed more than 1.1 million pounds of food and served more than 20,000 children aged 17 and under every year.
A small group of these Mankato kids who participate in the Summer Food Service Programs and free and reduced price lunches during the school year received VIP access to the Vikings Training Camp last Friday, and did a little giving back in the process.
“It’s such a great activity for the kids,” ECHO Food Shelf Manager Deisy De Leon Esqueda said about the event. “When the kids come back, you really can’t explain their enthusiasm. They have a blast!”
Many wearing jerseys, the young fans participated in a volunteer project alongside UnitedHealthcare employees, assembling hygiene packs with toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo and other personal care items. This is just one of multiple annual efforts by UnitedHealthcare and Second Harvest Heartland’s partnership.
By the end of the afternoon, the team put together more than 1500 packages for our community. Just across the field, the Vikings practiced their game for the upcoming season—something the kids were very excited to witness.
Former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman sat down with the young volunteers and emphasized the importance of giving back. Foreman talked about being one’s most compassionate self even during hardship. And of course, he signed autographs!
Foreman’s visit was not the only way the Vikings have given to kids in our region. Since 2009, the Vikings have raised more than half a million dollars for our mission and support of child hunger programs at Second Harvest Heartland through the Vikings Children’s Fund.
Although hunger is a big focus for us at Second Harvest Heartland, folks may also need non-food assistance, including hygiene products.
The 1500 kits these young volunteers put together last week are going to help many people in need, but there’s plenty of work to do. If you want to participate in a Hygiene Kit packing event yourself, you can help meet the essential needs of those who are struggling.
Second Harvest Heartland feels so fortunate to have such strong partnerships with the Minnesota Vikings, UnitedHealthcare and ECHO Food Shelf. Thank you also to the kids who gave back to our communities!