Nikki Fried joins “Taste of the NFL” to combat hunger ahead of Super Bowl LV

Nikki Fried
Taste of the NFL is an annual Super Bowl event that raises funds and awareness to combat hunger.

Ahead of the big game, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried joined Taste of the NFL to raise awareness for food insecurity.

Fried joined Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth, in a virtual discussion of the importance of school nutrition and making Florida-grown fruit and vegetables, especially citrus, an important part of a healthy diet.

“We know that our children can’t succeed, can’t be productive in the school system, can’t be productive members of our society without access to fresh, healthy, nutritious food,” Fried said at the event. “So many parents have lost their jobs and need a little bit of extra help — and that trickles down to their kids.”

Food insecurity affects one in four children across the U.S. and more than 850,000 children in Florida. Taste of the NFL is an annual Super Bowl culinary event that raises funds and awareness to combat hunger and is sponsored in part by Fresh From Florida.

This year’s virtual event featured celebrity chefs Carla Hall, Andrew Zimmern, Lasheeda Perry and Tim Love. It also included tips for staying healthy and active from Florida Dairy Farmers and Fuel Up to Play 60, the NFL’s in-school health and wellness program.

The event also featured the song “Florida Fresh” by BACHI, a Miami-born and Tallahassee-based hip-hop artist, created exclusively for Fresh From Florida.

Fighting chronic hunger and food insecurity has been one of Fried’s top priorities — when schools closed due to COVID-19, Fried activated the BreakSpot program to help serve 74 million meals to Florida kids from March through August 2020.

Last week, the commissioner requested the Biden Administration consider establishing universal school meals for children.

“While we know that typically we have 3 million people in Florida who are food insecure, and 850,000 of our kids, we know that has unfortunately skyrocketed during this pandemic,” Fried said. “But we also saw everyone in the state step up to the plate, including school districts [which] we worked with immediately when we heard schools were going to be closed, so that not a single child during COVID-19 was going to go hungry.”

The NFL has also been working to combat food insecurity ahead of the 55th Super Bowl.

As part of its Huddle to Tackle Hunger program, the foundation committed $250,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay to combat food insecurity in the Tampa Bay region. The grant will help support local restaurants that have been significantly affected by COVID-19, and provide meals to those in need. The program will run for 44 weeks following the Super Bowl.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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