The Cleveland Browns hosted the 20th annual Taste of the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, with proceeds benefitting the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. LB Christian Kirksey and former Brown Josh Cribbs served as honorary co-chairs of the event.
Christian Kirksey and Josh Cribbs took the stage Monday night and promised a rap duet.
The Browns linebacker and former Browns kick returning star were having some fun in front of the more than 1,000 people who attended the 20th annual Taste of the Browns. They were the co-chairs on a night that raised more than $260,000 for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, a total that will provide more than 1 million meals for families in need as the holiday season approaches.
"I'm blessed to have another opportunity along with Christian Kirksey to just get out and serve the community," said Cribbs, who re-joined the team this offseason as a special teams assistant. "We're benefitting the Cleveland Food Bank and they always do great work within the Cleveland community.
"They like to have fun while giving back to the community. That's just what it is all about."
A number of Cleveland's premier restaurants provided the food and beverage at the event, which was hosted inside FirstEnergy Stadium's 7UP City Club Lounge. Thousands and thousands of dollars were raised through a silent auction while a live auction served as the evening's biggest source of entertainment.
Fahrenheit Chef Rocco Whalen provided one of the best moments of the night, when he let both bidders win an item he donated, doubling the donation from $5,000 to $10,000 in the process.
"It means a lot to me, especially when it's something dealing with the community and the Browns organization," Kirksey said. "I'm humbled to be a part of something that's bigger than me. It's good to give back, especially giving food to people that is hungry and donating your time and donating food. It's definitely special to me."
Kirksey and Cribbs were joined by a number of other Browns, who posed for pictures and mingled with guests throughout the night. The group included Joel Bitonio, Austin Corbett, JC Tretter, David Njoku, Darren Fells, Earl Watford and Terrance Mitchell. Browns alumni were also ever-present.
"It's all hands in, not just on the football field but in the community," Kirksey said. "The guys really care and guys want to be the voice to those who are listening to us and those who need help. We want to be every helping hand to them. It just goes to show the kind of character we have on the team."
For every $1 donated, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank is able to provide four meals to families in need. Taste of the Browns is one of the organization's biggest events of the year, but it's just one of many in which Browns players serve an active role in generating funds and goodwill.
"The Browns are an absolutely extraordinary partner and we couldn't be more grateful," aid GCFB CEO Kristin Warzocha. "The Browns support goes on and on. It's deep and it's so important to us and what we do. They're truly one of our most important community partners."