With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, this time of year can be especially trying for families in need. Therefore, the Taste of the NFL, a national organization to raise awareness and funds for hunger relief efforts across America, has officially kicked off in Arizona with a goal to bring 270,000 meals to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance by Dec. 31.
The 2009 fundraiser includes more than 100 Arizona restaurants and bars (a list that is growing every day) that have agreed to carry and sell select E&J Gallo Winery brands in order to raise money to feed the hungry for the Food Bank. Currently, participating restaurants include Wildfish, Eddie V’s, Roaring Fork, Takeda Thai, Organ Stop Pizza, Z’Tejas, Teakwoods, Roy’s and more. Each case of participating E&J Gallo Winery brands sold during the Taste of the NFL program will generate 30 meals for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, a non-profit organization that serves 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties by gathering and distributing food to sites that serve the hungry. “The Taste of the NFL program makes such a positive impact in Phoenix every year,” said Terry Shannon, president & CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. “This year, the drastic economic downfall has increased our need for meals by 60 percent. Now more than ever, we’re seeing people who have jobs and are working hard, but still can’t afford to feed their families.”
Taste of the NFL, now in its 18th year, has donated $8 million to feeding the hungry around the nation. Last year, the Phoenix program, run by the E&J Gallo Winery, provided 70,000 meals to residents around the state. The E&J Gallo Winery has been running the regional Taste of the NFL program since 2003 and has successfully involved the local restaurant community in the fight against hunger. “The fact that so many people, many times your own neighbors, can’t afford to provide healthy, balanced meals for their families is devastating to us,” said Catalina Lara, regional manager at E&J Gallo Winery. “We’re a family-owned business, and this cause is one that we believe in strongly. The Taste of the NFL is wonderful because it allows restaurants, and the consumers who visit those restaurants, to help feed the hungry in their own community.”
The Taste of the NFL program runs now through Dec. 31, 2009. For a current list of participating Arizona restaurants, bars and E&J Gallo Winery brands or to make a donation (according to the site, every $1 donated means $9 of food that can be donated to families who need it) to The Taste of the NFL, visit www.epicurious.com/gallo.