Four people in the Taste of the NFL kitchen

Fulfilling a big need during the Big Game: Taste of the NFL @Home

For near­ly a year, COVID-19 has changed the world, from the way we live, work and trav­el, to how we enter­tain and cel­e­brate events. And the biggest sport­ing and pop-cul­ture event of the year, Super Bowl LV, was no exception.

In Sep­tem­ber 2020, Bell­mont Part­ners and our part­ner Cahill Com­mu­ni­ca­tions kicked off plan­ning with GENY­OUth, the new orga­niz­er and ben­e­fi­cia­ry of the Taste of the NFL, an event that start­ed 30 years ago right here in Min­neso­ta. Usu­al­ly held on the eve of the Super Bowl in the game’s host city, the typ­i­cal­ly in-per­son gala event brings togeth­er celebri­ty chefs, NFL play­ers and hun­dreds of sup­port­ers from around the coun­try to raise mil­lions of dol­lars to pro­vide meals for hun­gry Amer­i­cans. But as with most events in 2020 and 2021, it need­ed to pivot.

GENY­OUth, a nation­al non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that fights child­hood hunger, knew the typ­i­cal in-per­son event couldn’t hap­pen, but the need to help feed the hun­gry chil­dren across the Unit­ed States was greater than ever. The pan­dem­ic has only ele­vat­ed the issue of child­hood hunger, with 1 in 4 kids in the U.S. now liv­ing with food inse­cu­ri­ty. Many chil­dren depend on school lunch­es as their main source of nutri­tion, and with dis­tance and hybrid learn­ing hap­pen­ing all over the coun­try, get­ting school lunch­es to hun­gry kids became more vital than ever.

After brain­storm­ing many poten­tial sce­nar­ios for how the reimag­ined event would look – includ­ing keep­ing close tabs on COVID-19 case counts and Tam­pa-area event restric­tions and para­me­ters – the GENY­OUth team deter­mined that this was the year to cre­ate a first of its kind NFL-sanc­tioned inter­ac­tive live streamed event. With this for­mat, peo­ple from around the coun­try could par­tic­i­pate from the safe­ty of their own kitchen. Taste of the NFL @Home fea­tured the com­bined star pow­er of celebri­ty chefs Car­la Hall, Andrew Zim­mernTim Love and Lashee­da Per­ry cook­ing up deli­cious recipes – with a sur­prise appear­ance by NFL play­er Ryan Fitz­patrick, all with the goal of help­ing to feed our nation’s kids. The event also fea­tured a “Chalk Talk” pre­sen­ta­tion with sports greats Derek Jeter, Pey­ton Man­ning and Cla­res­sa Shields, host­ed by James “JB” Brown. Tick­ets to the live stream were $100 each, with all pro­ceeds ben­e­fit­ting GENYOUth’s COVID-19 Emer­gency School Meal Deliv­ery Fund, which helps school nutri­tion pro­fes­sion­als obtain the meal deliv­ery equip­ment and resources they need to get meals to students.

Bell­mont Part­ners and Cahill Com­mu­ni­ca­tions pitched, helped coor­di­nate and mon­i­tored both local and nation­al inter­views with the celebri­ty chefs and GENYOUth’s CEO, Alex­is Glick. The live stream event was a huge suc­cess and scored more than 300 media sto­ries, and most impor­tant­ly, raised funds to con­tin­ue to help feed hun­gry kids across the country.

Next year we hope sup­port­ers of the Taste of the NFL can gath­er in per­son again in Los Ange­les, but in the mean­time, we’re thank­ful for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have played a small part in this first-ever, inno­v­a­tive, fun and impor­tant vir­tu­al event.


*Pho­to cour­tesy of GENYOUth

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