Tyrod Taylor finds a passion fighting food insecurity
The Virginia Tech alumnus and former Hokie quarterback is excited about being with the New York Giants, where he plans on competing for a starting job, while also continuing to use his platform as an NFL player to bring attention to food insecurity.
In mid-March, Tyrod Taylor decided to change addresses and relocate to the Big Apple.
Yet wherever he resides, he remains hungry to take a bite out of the food insecurity issues plaguing many small and large communities in the United States.
Taylor ’10, a former quarterback on the Virginia Tech football team, continues to invest in this cause, announcing a five-figure gift to The Market of Virginia Tech on a mid-April visit to campus for the Hokies’ spring football game. The Market, located on University City Boulevard near campus, serves as the physical destination for many students with food insecurity to select produce, proteins, dairy, and other pantry items for free.
Taylor found out about the university’s food assistance program and welcomed partnering with Hema ’99 and Mehul Sanghani ’98, who helped launch The Market in 2020 with a $1.5 million donation.
“I met Mehul a few years back and he sparked this idea about this concept, and I thought it was an awesome idea,” Taylor said. “I thought it would be nice to partner with them and ultimately help the community. This is definitely a serious issue, as you educate yourself on food insecurity in different communities across the nation. It’s bigger than a lot of people realize. It’s definitely a special cause and a wonderful opportunity for guys like me who have a platform to give back. This goes a long way for a lot of people.”
Taylor’s donation continued his tradition of philanthropic efforts to fight hunger, with most of those endeavors directed toward people in his hometown of Hampton, Virginia. In 2020, the Tyrod Taylor Foundation made a $25,000 donation to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank located in Hampton.
In the past two years, Taylor’s foundation has teamed with Kroger and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank to organize drive-thru food pantries at both Bassette Elementary School and at Hampton High School, where Taylor played and graduated before coming to Virginia Tech. He also partnered with Kroger in November for a turkey drive at Darling Stadium in Hampton.
“We had a good number of turkeys that we were handing out, and 15 minutes into the event, it’s all gone,” said Taylor, who participated in a panel discussion on food insecurity in February while in Los Angeles for the Super Bowl. “There were people showing up 20 minutes late to an event, and we don’t have anything to give them. You have to ask, ‘What’s the root of the issue?’ It’s bigger than we think. It wasn’t that people were grabbing more than they should. It’s a food insecurity issue within my community and across the nation.
“I’ve been trying to attack it in different communities. Obviously, the plan is to continue to keep growing with concepts like this [The Market] across the nation, so that we can help one another. It means a lot to me.”
Virginia Tech also means a lot to Taylor. He excelled on the football field, where he played on three ACC championship teams and earned the 2010 ACC Player of the Year honor. He graduated in 2010 with a degree in residential property management from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Taylor’s trips to Blacksburg are few and far between these days. His career as an NFL quarterback with other business and personal responsibilities keeps him busy. Yet, each return to campus gives him an opportunity both to reflect and to appreciate his time as a student and athlete more than a decade ago.
“I think about it all the time, my college days and the friendships that were started a long time ago and friendships that have been made over the years,” Taylor said. “Coaches, ex-players, ex-students, ex-classmates of mine, we all helped each other, and we’re going to continue to help each other. It was an amazing four years here. We were able to win a lot of games, and I was able to meet a lot of great people, and I’m thankful for the relationships that continue to keep building from that.”
A sixth-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 NFL Draft, Taylor is now entering season No. 12 as an NFL quarterback. He signed a two-year contract with the New York Giants in March, and he enters training camp with an opportunity to earn the starting job.
After dealing with injuries that hindered him over the past two seasons, Taylor welcomes this latest challenge, which comes in America’s biggest city.
“I’m excited,” Taylor said. “Going into year 12 is truly a blessing and definitely a wonderful opportunity for me to grow my game and continue to lead in the way that I lead. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to being around a great group of guys.
“It should be a fun season. Obviously, the fun comes from winning, and that’s what we’re preparing to do now in this offseason period, so I’m just looking forward to it.”