Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes, Pro Bowler Duane Brown and the Houston Texans Cheerleaders took part in a volunteer blitz at the Houston Food Bank to kick off the 2014 Souper Bowl of Caring on Wednesday morning.
The three-week food drive, which concludes on Super Bowl Sunday, aims to raise enough food and money to provide 2.8 million meals to hungry people in the greater Houston area. Representatives from competing retailers H-E-B, Kroger and Randalls have joined forces alongside the Texans and student volunteers to sort food and provide other much-needed support to Houston Food Bank programs.
"We're very proud to be involved with addressing hunger in our community," Rootes said. "Houston continues to lead, other markets are getting involved, and this is a way we can impact families and kids in our community.
"We've sold out every game we've ever played at 70,000 each week in the fall. Unfortunately, that same number of children in our community are going hungry, and this is a way that the Texans and our fans can make a difference for those kids and for those families."
Brown, who will participate in the 2014 Pro Bowl in Honolulu, HI, checked into the food bank before the sun came up to package nonperishable food items with other volunteers.
"It's great just to feel this energy," Brown said. "It's very early in the morning, and to see the kind of energy that these people have to fight a great cause and come out here knowing it's going to help one less person starve at night, it's a great feeling."
More than 250 area schools and congregations will organize events and conduct drives at their locations leading up to the big game on Feb. 2. Brown will host an assembly for the school that makes the biggest commitment to end hunger during the campaign.
"The school that collects the most food and money I made a pledge to go out and host a pep rally for them," Brown said. "I'm glad my face and my status is an incentive for them to go out and do that. I'm going to have a lot of fun with it."
The Texans have made the Houston Food Bank a strategic community partner and the initiative to feed Houstonians a priority. Rootes added that the Souper Bowl of Houston is the largest program of its type in America and a movement that will continue to flourish.
"Our players come here, our cheerleaders, our administration, our ownership," Rootes said. "The entire organization is behind the Houston Food Bank trying to make a difference for Houston."
Souper Bowl of Caring will also be introducing its first Text To Donate campaign in Houston. You can text FeedHou to 20222 to donate $10 to the Houston Food Bank.