Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was one of the organizers of a major community event outside of Cub Foods in south Minneapolis on this sunny Friday afternoon. Joined by Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie, local coaches P.J. Fleck and Ryan Saunders, and many others, the event distributed crucial supplies to those in need after a tumultuous couple of weeks in the Twin Cities following George Floyd's death.
Several of Rudolph's Vikings teammates, including Adam Thielen and Danielle Hunter, also showed up to help pass out donated items or contribute in whatever way they could. All of the volunteers were wearing "Change Starts With Me" shirts, which you can buy here – all of the profits go to the Minneapolis Foundation.
The event ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but people were in line over an hour early, according to Vikings.com.
"This was supposed to start at 11 a.m., and we had over 100 people here at 9:30 a.m., so that just shows the need in this community and how badly people are suffering for essential goods and food," Rudolph said. "It really speaks to how important this stuff is, and it makes me feel extremely appreciative to have the opportunity to organize something like this. We tried to provide basic goods … things you would go to your local [store] and get, but you can't right now," Rudolph added. "We tried to come down here and provide families with things they need."
Hunter spoke to Vikings.com about the importance of this type of event.
"A lot of people watch us and are influenced by what we do, so it's just coming out and making a difference, being a difference and restoring the community," Hunter said. "That will influence the younger ones for when they grow up. They'll have the same change of heart, 'If something happens, I can be the one to change it. It can start with me.'
In addition to handing out food, water bottles, and baby and hygiene products, there was ice cream and music to entertain kids. The event also had plenty of dialogue about how every individual person, not just athletes or celebrities, can help bring change to this country.
This event came just one day after Rudolph, Thielen, and ten other Vikings attended George Floyd's memorial service downtown.
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