New York Giants Intercept Hunger

They may be Giants…but they do much more than simply play football. A Taste of the NFL charity event was held at the Stadium Club at Giants Stadium on Monday night. Fans and players (current and former) mingled amid a sprawling array of food sampling stations from premium metropolitan restaurants.

For the third consecutive year, the New York Giants teamed up with ShopRite and Kraft in an effort to generate funding for the ShopRite Partners In Caring Fund and the Giants Foundation. Both philanthropic entities are committed to helping put food in the mouths of the underprivileged and hungry in the metropolitan area.

The event’s ticket sales provided the majority of funding, but both a silent and a live auction were held to supplement the primary revenue source. Various Giants memorabilia (autographed helmets and jerseys) was up for grabs during the silent auction; and VIP tickets, on-field passes, an opportunity to see the team practice, and a lunch with Antonio Pierce (who hosted the event) were part of a special three-package live auction conducted at the end of the night.

I didn’t see who ultimately landed any of the three package deals included in the live auction, but I did hear the bids over the loudspeaker. As you can imagine might be the case with a journalist in today’s media environment, I was priced-out of contention for the top prizes fairly early (read: before it even started).

Oddly, “discretionary auction spending” is not covered by the magazine’s expense policy, so I stayed on the sidelines. Bids were definitely in the thousands, which is great news for both charities, of course.

Being an unembarrassed lover of food and sports, however, I was ecstatic just to be a part of it. The players who attended were more than accommodating with their fans—taking time to pose for countless pictures and slap their John Hancock (or is it Madison Hedgecock?) on everything from napkins to articles of clothing.

It was interesting to see the players’ personalities shine through. Unsurprisingly, they are more than just helmets, pads, and numbered jerseys. Antonio Pierce, Domenik Hixon, Gartrell Johnson, Madison Hedgecock, Bryan Kehl and Chase Blackburn were just a few of the players I personally encountered as I circumnavigated the crowded club. Each player was cheerful and engaging despite a highly publicized loss to the New Orleans Saints the previous afternoon.

It’s not every day you see Chase Blackburn and Jesse Armstead donning chef attire and engaging in a Cajun-style cook-off. When you get the chance, you try their culinary creations (which were outstanding). The experience was pleasant and unique. A whilwind three hours or so comprised of eating, drinking, and socializing.

Not too much networking on my part, though. It didn’t appear that the Giants were in the market for an undersized field goal kicker with substandard ability, erratic accuracy, and questionable talent; so I didn’t think it proper to volunteer my services for the league minimun salary. Maybe next time…provided I can add the requisite yardage to my kicks.

Spirits were high (despite a Yankees loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that was televised on screens around the club), and the big winner was ShopRite Partners In Caring. The charity will now have more ample reserves with which to combat hunger—a systemic problem that affects more than 36 million Americans.

To learn more about ShopRite Partners in Caring, visit shopritepartnersincaring.org. Information about the Giants Foundation can be found here: giants.com/off_field/TheGiantsFoundation.html.

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