NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans and LP Building Products teamed up for the third annual Bash of the Titans on Wednesday night to help Second Harvest Food Bank tackle hunger.
LP Building Products presented the benefit dinner that gave patrons the opportunity to visit the locker room, walk through the tunnel and oversized helmet onto the field, have pictures taken on the Titantron and listen to a Q&A with Titans general manager Ruston Webster and coach Ken Whisenhunt that was led by "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith.
The primary goal of the evening, however, was raising money for the important task of eliminating hunger in Middle Tennessee by Second Harvest Food Bank, which was selected as this year's recipient non-profit organization.
Titans board member Kenneth Adams, IV said the organization was pleased to continue its relationship with Second Harvest, which is also a recipient of a game-day food drive each season at LP Field and a neighbor of the team's headquarters at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
"They've been a great partner. They've done a heck of a job putting it together," Adams said. "We facilitate it a good bit, but they've done a lot of the work themselves. It's a great organization, one that we're proud to be part of."
The event raised more than $58,000, which Second Harvest President and CEO Jaynee Day said translates into approximately 240,000 meals. Day said the funds will help the organization's after-school, emergency food assistance, disaster relief and senior nutrition programs.
"A lot of people don't know that hunger is right here in our community and one out of six adults and one out of four children are at-risk of hunger every day in our community," Day said. "We can't allow that to happen, so events like this, the generosity of the Titans' organization, as well as other members who have come together to support this event will really help us to carry our mission forward and be able to feed more hungry people."
LP Building Products presented the 2014 Bash of the Titans to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. (Photos: Craig Peters)
In addition to helping feed the hungry, attendees were able to enjoy personal interactions with players in the locker room where Michael Griffin, Jake Locker, Jason McCourty, Bernard Pollard, Coty Sensabaugh, Nate Washington, George Wilson, Wesley Woodyard and first-round pick of 2014 Taylor Lewan autographed photos and other memorabilia. Players said they enjoyed letting fans know the people underneath their helmets.
Webster and Whisenhunt then gave attendees insights about the Titans' offseason changes, starting with Webster's decision to hire Whisenhunt, the relationship that quickly formed between the two men and the efforts they've made to strengthen the roster during free agency and the NFL Draft. Webster and Whisenhunt shared thoughts on what players have done so far in the offseason workout program and how plans are taking shape just 10 weeks before the Titans host the Packers to open the 2014 preseason slate.
Titans VP of Marketing Ralph Ockenfels thanked LP Building Products for the opportunity to help Second Harvest accomplish its mission.
"The scope and breadth of what Second Harvest Food Bank does is simply amazing," Ockenfels said. "Here in Metro Nashville, 70 percent of students in Metro schools are under some kind of federally assisted food program, and that's where in one evening, the ability to raise (approximately) $60,000 can really help them tackle hunger in a very direct and tangible way. "They also have a backpack program where they send kids home for the weekend with a balanced meal, and those funds will go help make sure those kids have a balanced meal when they go home from school," Ockenfels added, "Otherwise, they might not have one the entire weekend. When you hear stories like that, it's amazing what Second Harvest does, and to be a small part of that is very humbling, so we're obviously excited to be part of it."