The Kansas City Chiefs, in partnership with Farmland and Hy-Vee, officially kicked off the Chiefs Kingdom Food Drivebenefitting Harvesters on Tuesday afternoon, when Farmland made an initial donation of 25,000 pounds of assorted protein to coincide with Hyvee's 6,000-pound donation of non-perishable food items.
"After the success of last year's inaugural Chiefs Kingdom Food Drive, we are excited to again join forces with two great partners – Farmland and Hy-Vee – to make an even bigger donation to Harvesters this year," Chiefs president Mark Donovan said. "All of Chiefs Kingdom united to set the bar extremely high last year, and through the generous support of our fans, partners and the larger community, we have the opportunity to help alleviate food insecurity during the holiday season."
The Chiefs called upon their wide receivers to help begin the drive with that initial bulk load. The volunteers of Harvesters, of course, were delighted to have the Chiefs help out with the cause.
"In one word: excitement," described Valerie Nicholson-Watson, the president and CEO of Harvesters. "It is exciting for staff, it is exciting for the other volunteers who are here. It's such an awareness builder when you have an entity in your city such as a professional sports team, and we love our Chiefs.
"When they get behind an effort, you know it's going to be successful. All of their fans will get behind it, so we are really expecting a great food drive and a great game come next Sunday."
Wide receiver Jason Avant explained that one of the best parts about being an NFL player is that it provides an excellent platform to make a difference in the lives of people in need.
"It's a blessing," he said. "It's a blessing to be in the NFL and to be a part of the Kansas City Chiefs because we know a lot of people look up to us. To have the resources and the context to be able help people, that's what it's about."
The Kansas City Chiefs caring team including members of the Wide Receiver Group visit Harvesters on Tuesday.
For Avant's teammate fellow receiver Albert Wilson, the event hit home.
"Growing up, I went through a situation where you don't know where your next meal is coming from," he said. "It's real important for me to give back because I've been blessed with the opportunity to feed my family and I just want to take opportunities like this to give back to others who are less fortunate."
The Chiefs Kingdom food drive takes place on November 29 when the Chiefs take upon the Buffalo Bills. Fans can bring non-perishable food items to volunteers from Farmland, Hy-Vee, Harvesters and members of the Chiefs Women's Organization, who will have bins located outside the stadium gates.
Last year, the Chiefs Kingdom Food drive fed 179,000 families.
"We're trying to beat that," Avant added, "and it's not so much about a competition as much as it is about helping people.
"We know that there are a lot of people that have to make hard decisions this time of year with buying gifts and rent and all of those things, so if we can help them out with some food, it will go a long way and they will be appreciate of it."
For fans who are not attending the game on Sunday, Nov. 29, they can also support the food drive via the virtual food drive which is found athttp://www.chiefs.com/fooddrive. **
There is a text-to-give donation line for fans who wish to contribute financially as well, accessible by texting 'CHIEFS' to 31996 (standard messaging rates apply).