Global social media movement returns, now benefitting hunger relief programs in United States and Canada
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – From impressive one-handed backhands now to slam dunk baskets, the Old El Paso #MessFreeChallenge is migrating from the tennis court to the basketball court in its new Slam Dunk avatar to take on food insecurity in the United States and Canada. For its second year, the award-winning social media campaign is harnessing basketball fandom to support this cause. With 1 in 4 households that experience food insecurity in the United States and 1 in 8 in Canada , basketball stars have swung into action taking on the challenge with direct donations to Feeding America in the United States, and food banks across Canada.
This year’s full court press is being led by United States basketball offensive powerhouse Andre Drummond and Canadian playmaker Andrew Wiggins. Both hoop stars are showing off their best spillage-free slam dunk featuring an Old El Paso Tortilla Bowl on their Instagram channels and rallying the basketball community and their followers to get behind the challenge by posting their own dunks on Instagram. Follow Andre Drummond @andredrummondd and Andrew Wiggins @22wiggins on Instagram. With the help of the dynamic duo, General Mills is contributing a $15,000 donation to help vulnerable families in need across North America.
“I saw Nick Kyrgios start this initiative and a lot of my basketball friends one upping each other in this Mess Free Challenge and I wanted to be a part of the energy, encouraging my fans to get behind this easy act of making a difference,” said Andre Drummond, the league’s newest recruit to Philadelphia. “I’ve had a number of dope slam dunks in my career, but none that have had a tangible impact on such an important societal issue until now. I want to keep this going in our basketball community and I’m thrilled Andrew Wiggins has picked up my challenge for Canada.”
“I’m glad Drummond tagged me in to the Old El Paso Mess Free Challenge because food insecurity is a global issue, so it’s meaningful to participate and benefit my home country of Canada where too many families with children go hungry or miss meals,” said Andrew Wiggins, the California-based forward who hails from Toronto. “Now I’ll be passing on to Willy Hernangomez to take the challenge to Spain, as well as my followers, to join as one big, united team fighting food insecurity together.”
The #MessFreeChallenge scored viral status last year when global tennis star Nick Kyrgios demonstrated to his social followers how easy it was to play tennis one-handed while enjoying an Old El Paso Tortilla Pocket in his other hand. His trick shots inspired a community of fans, including North American tennis stars Eugenie Bouchard and Sofia Kenin, to act and sparked donations resulting in more than 100,000 Old El Paso Mexican meal products and meals donated to help food banks and families in need across the Americas, Europe, Australia and Middle East. This year the challenge has the backing of popular basketball stars across Australia, New Zealand and Europe before making its way to North America with an aim to double last year’s numbers globally.
“We’re always looking for engaging ways to be a force for good and show up for our friends and communities in a bold way, so we’re honored to do that by drawing attention to the face of food insecurity,” said Jonathan Pandit, Brand Experience Manager, Old El Paso. “Last year sports fans around the world showcased our delicious tortillas to elevate this friendly competition into a global-reaching initiative benefitting families and we are inspired by the passion that Andre Drummond and Andrew Wiggins are bringing this year.”
The #MessFreeChallenge continues the commitment of General Mills and its brands to address hunger globally through support for food banks and other hunger relief programs.