CANTON, Ohio — On Tuesday, hundreds of people were in Canton for the 14th annual Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This event is the Akon-Canton Regional Foodbank's largest fundraising event that helps raise awareness and money for the fight against hunger in northeast Ohio.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinee Cris Carter was in attendance and spent time talking with guests at the event.
The NFL legend played full 16-game seasons in 13 of his 16 years in the league. By the time he retired, he scored 130 touchdowns, ranking him second for most touchdowns in the NFL history. But before Carter was a Pro Football Hall of Famer, he was just a kid from southwestern Ohio whose family often struggled with food insecurity.
“My mom didn’t have a professional skill, and she had seven kids before she was 25,” Carter said. "We did experience hunger so I did understand that’s why food is very important, not only to the underserved, but food is a huge part of everything that we do.”
Carter and his family often turned to their community to help put food on their table.
"The church, the local church, and then the government [helped]" he explained. "As far as food, milk, dairy products, cheese, we were able to on a monthly basis, able to get food from there."
So when he was approached to participate in the Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which benefits the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, it was a no brainer.
"Well I think that most people that are successful, they look back on it and they realize, wow, they had a tremendous amount of help. God had a plan for them, and people along the way assisted with helping your development,” Carter said.
He hopes by attending events like this one, he can help to raise awareness about food insecurity in America.
“Letting people know that we do have food needs, even in the most influential country in the world, America, our kids are starving on a daily basis," Carter said. "So we should bring more awareness to that. It's important to kids, their mental development, their physical development and their emotional development that they have access to food.”
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbanks president and CEO Dan Flowers said that was the main goal of Tuesday's event was to put food on the table for the community.
"Every dollar given to the foodbank provides four meals, and so if we raise $250,000 tonight, we can provide one million meals," Flowers explained. "That is nothing small, in fact that is a very significant amount of food.”
For more information on the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, you can visit their website.