Wayne Kostroski of Edina has been helping to feed the hungry for nearly 30 years. His annual Taste of the NFL events hosted during the Super Bowl have been so successful in raising funds and awareness for hunger relief that last year he launched Taste Fore the Tour, benefiting VEAP, to coincide with Minnesota’s inaugural 3M Open golf tournament. This year, due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, the 3M Open was played without spectators and Taste Fore the Tour took its fundraising efforts online.
The economic effects of COVID-19 make food insecurity a bigger issue than ever before. So, Kostroski was determined to do whatever it took to help local families who are struggling to put food on the table. The idea for a virtual event took off and local chefs, athletes and celebrities joined the cause to help get the word out.
Michele Tafoya, professional sportscaster and sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football, remembers meeting Kostroski shortly after moving to the area in 1994. “Wayne might be the most persistent human being that I know,” says Tafoya who once served on the board of directors for Taste of the NFL. “Whatever he does, he puts so much energy and commitment into it,” Tafoya says of Kostroski’s charitable efforts. Last year, Tafoya helped do some of the introductions of attendees at the in-person Taste Fore the Tour event. She says, “There was a spectacular turnout and that honoring Sir Nick Faldo was so cool. I was happy to be a part of it, to be present and add to the spirit of the event.”
This year, Tafoya, along with several other well-known personalities, recorded a virtual message and contributed a recipe for a collaborative cookbook that would be offered as a gift to donors at certain dollar amounts. Tafoya hoped to see a strong online presence for this year’s virtual event and says, “It’s important for people to realize we cannot drop the ball [on hunger relief] … we need to try to get through this year and put food on shelves.”
Carly Zucker of Edina was also involved in last year’s Taste Fore the Tour. Kostroski connected with Zucker, a local radio personality and social media maven, after a few years of golfing with her husband, NHL hockey player Jason Zucker. Carly Zucker had big success raising funds for Masonic Children’s Hospital through the Give 16 campaign, so Kostroski invited her to help with Taste Fore the Tour.
“This year, it will be a social campaign,” says Zucker who was active in getting people involved in the online effort. She says, “Last year, it was so fun to get dressed up and mingle … But, right now with the needs in our communities, food is at the forefront.” So, she wants to lend her voice and platform to raise funds and food donations to make a difference. She believes that unlike traditional style fundraising events, a virtual event has the possibility of drawing a larger audience. She says, “This is something totally new and a good opportunity … I want to find creative ways to get people involved and make it easy to donate. I look forward to seeing what happens.”
You can help too. Visit tasteforethetour.com to discover how to donate and also how to support local restaurants that have partnered with this year’s event.