The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank hosted the 14th annual Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sept. 14, 2021, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton with Hall of Fame Gold Jacket legend Cris Carter.

Nearly 400 guests in attendance helped provide meals to support individuals and families in the community facing food insecurity. All donations raised benefit the local fight against hunger.

New this year, an intimate tableside chat was hosted by Carter, where he shared his personal struggle with food insecurity as a child. After sharing experiences and reflecting on his career, Pro Football Hall of Fame President and Executive Director David Baker led a Q&A with Carter, giving guests a once in a lifetime, memorable experience.

“I was fortunate to be here tonight, and the reason why is because from the front door of the Hall to the front door of the housing projects I grew up in—is 242 miles,” states Gold Jacket Cris Carter. “I grew up in very, very humble beginnings… and as a young person, I had tremendous food issues...for me being fed by the church, by my teammates’ parents, picking up cheese every month, those were normal things…I sit here and listen and see these people doing great things, and I wonder, how many Cris Carters and Lebron James are going hungry throughout our state. That’s why I have an interest in this. Food and nutrition play such an important part in kids’ lives.”

The annual event is a partnership between NFL teams and food banks across the country, where local events are held in NFL cities throughout the year. The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is proud to partner locally with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in lieu of an NFL team.

“Right now, I’m standing in the aura of Cris Carter’s powerful speech,” states Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank “He shared his experience with food insecurity and embodies what I like to call the passion of the affiliated or those who have lived in pain. And when you’ve experienced something traumatic, you get a passion to help. This is a huge event for us, and we’re so thankful for Cris’s voice, and that we got to share it with best friends of the Foodbank.”

To help raise funds for hunger relief, guests had the opportunity to bid on exciting silent and live auction items. Some items that thrilled the crowd and inspired many to give, included a ride on the Goodyear blimp and getaway to Loreto, Mexico.

Also, different this year was the format of the event. Taking place in the new Nash Family Event & Conference Center, guests enjoyed a delicious meal with beverages from Canton Brewing Co., Chocolates by Erin, D’Agnese’s of White Pond, Dunkin’, Esber Beverage, Main Street Gourmet, PEPSI, The Quarry Golf Club, Robert J. Events & Catering and Royal Docks.

Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is presented by Rubber City Radio Group stations including WQMX, WONE, WAKR and jenY.