The coalition debuted the inaugural Hometown Food Security Night on Thanksgiving evening with the Austin Bruins to a resounding success. The night was an opportunity for those in attendance to learn more about the hunger crisis in their own community, while also providing food donations and engaging in some fun activities and contests throughout the game.

In the days and weeks leading up to the contest, fans were encouraged to bring a canned food item to the arena as part of another donation to the Salvation Army. Many participating fans brought not just one, but multiple items. In total, 344 pounds of food were collected at the game! All donating participants were rewarded with a $5 discount on their next Bruins ticket purchase.

Hormel Foods CEO Jim Snee said a few words before the game started Thanksgiving night, thanking fans for their attendance while also explaining the central mission of the Hometown Food Security Project. Mr. Snee also aided the children of several coalition members in dropping the ceremonial puck before the game.

Once the game was underway, coalition members convened in the “Bear’s Den,” a reserved seating area for large groups. Coalition members and their families enjoyed the game with front-row seats right behind the glass, cheering on the home team.

Among the attendees was a group of local youths from Nexus-Gerard Family Healing. Group chaperone Denver Ritz-Vorwald said, “There were some learning moments included in the night. [The kids] first indicated that they were not aware of the hunger crisis and how it impacted so many. This made them realize how lucky they are to have access to nutritious meals on a consistent basis.”

The canned goods brought by attendees weren’t the only donations made on the night. One lucky fan at the game triggered a Hormel Foods donation of 500 meals to our community during one of the game’s intermissions by shooting a puck into the net from center ice!