Star Tribune/Elizabeth Flores
In this photo taken Wednesday, The Minnesota Vikings Foundation revealed a new food truck in Eagan, Minn., that will trek to Twin Cities neighborhoods to serve free healthy meals to kids in need this summer. The charitable arm of the NFL team says the custom-built purple Winnebago, dubbed the Vikings Table, is the first vehicle of its kind by a pro sports team.
Star Tribune/Elizabeth Flores

In this photo taken Wednesday, The Minnesota Vikings Foundation revealed a new food truck in Eagan, Minn., that will trek to Twin Cities neighborhoods to serve free healthy meals to kids in need this summer. The charitable arm of the NFL team says the custom-built purple Winnebago, dubbed the Vikings Table, is the first vehicle of its kind by a pro sports team.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The charitable arm of the Minnesota Vikings recently unveiled a new food truck that will serve free, healthy meals to children in need.

The Minnesota Vikings Foundation’s custom-built purple truck is part of an effort to address childhood obesity and hunger in the Twin Cities, the Star Tribune reported. The Vikings Table food truck will work with local nonprofits to serve Twin Cities children free meals, such as pulled chicken, turkey tacos and spiralized zucchini, through October.

It’s the foundation’s first initiative since it replaced the nearly 40-year-old Vikings Children’s Fund charity in 2017, shifting focus from grant funding to creating and managing programs.

More than 300,000 Minnesota students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals and many go hungry during the summer, when they can’t access the extra help. Meanwhile, obesity has disproportionately affected children of color and those from low-income households.

“There’s a greater need for mobile (food) than I think is being met,” said Jason Viana, executive director of The Open Door, an Eagan-based nonprofit. “There’s a lot of people in the suburbs who need help. It’s easy to not see it.”

The Open Door also runs mobile programs that offer school lunches and produce to those in need in areas such as Lakeville and Apple Valley.

Viana hopes the Vikings food truck will bring attention to what nonprofits are already doing to address hunger in Minnesota, particularly in suburban areas that lack the same resources as urban areas.

Brett Taber, executive director of the Minnesota Vikings Foundation, said he hopes the Vikings brand will help reduce the stigma for kids who seek free meals.

“You have the opportunity with a big brand to make a difference,” Taber said. “Everyone knows the Vikings.”