Taste of the NFL brings together football, food and fundraising - Metro US

Taste of the NFL brings together football, food and fundraising

Before millions of people munch on nachos and wings while watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, chefs and former football stars will be raising moneyto help feed those less fortunate.

One out of six people in the U.S. are hungry, and Taste of the NFL, a fundraising organization that began in 1992, is working to change that.

This Saturday, Taste of the NFL’s 26th annual Party with a Purpose event brings together top chefs from each NFL city along with a former player to raise money for their hometown’s food bank.

Representing Boston: Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse owner Steve DiFillippo, Culinary Director Rodney Murillo and former Patriot’s offensive lineman Matt Light.

“We do a lot of charity events, but this is the number one charity event in country,” DiFillippo said.

Every NFL city, 32 in total, will have a table at the event, which is held at the University of Houston.

As DiFillippo cooks — he’ll be serving up fresh cavatelli pasta with homemade sausage, butternut squash and truffle butter with fresh black truffles shaved on top — Light will be signing autographs and the attendees will get to enjoy the food, open bar and live performance by The Band Perry.

“It’s a great event, it’s raised more than $25 million over the last 25 years,” DiFillippo said. “Our money we raise goes straight to the Greater Boston Food Bank.”

This is DiFillippo’s sixth time representing New England at Party with a Purpose, and for three of those years, the Patriots have been in the Super Bowl. He said he may sense a bit of jealousy — and he also acknowledged that the Patriots aren’t so beloved outside of New England — but still, the event is fun, friendly and for a good cause.

For fans who aren’t able to make it to Houston, you can still participate. Part of Taste of the NFL is the Kick Hunger Challenge, where anyone can donate online in the name of their NFL team. At support.tasteofthenfl.com, donating in the name of the Patriots gives 100 percent of your gift to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Since 2001, when Greater Boston Food Bank started to participate in the Kick Hunger Challenge, it has received a total of $345,000 in donations. That’s equal to 1,035,000 meals.

“Last year, thanks to our local Taste of the NFL champion, Davio’s restaurant owner Steve DiFillippo, and the generosity of so many Patriots fans, we won the Kick Hunger Challenge, enabling us to provide thousands of meals to families in need across eastern Massachusetts,” said Catherine D’Amato, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank. “This year, Steve and Matt Light have teamed up for the Kick Hunger Challenge, and we’re cheering them — and the Pats — on!”

There’s also one last chance to attend Party with a Purpose yourself — oh, and you’ll get airfare down to Houston and tickets to the Super Bowl, too. Light’s own charity, theLight Foundation,is giving away two tickets in a raffle. Buy tickets at playoffraffle.com, and proceeds benefit both the Light Foundation, which provides youth leadership and outdoor learning experiences,and the Greater Boston Food Bank. The drawing will be held at 11 a.m. Friday.

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