Why do Minnesota Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren and his wife Greta regularly provide holiday meals for patients and staff at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital?
We’ll let Kevin explain:
“Life is hard. People have financial and health issues. So we just hope this dinner brightens someone’s day and gives them encouragement,” he said on Wednesday, as dozens of people were served a warm Thanksgiving meal in the hospital lobby. The food and the event are courtesy of the Warren family.
“This tells the young people and their families here that [other] people care about them.”
For years, Kevin and his wife Greta have delivered that supportive message to our patients and families on Christmas and—of course—Thanksgiving. The catered meals, hosted by the Warrens, are a taste of home for many who have been hospitalized continuously for weeks or months at a time.
The reality of long-term hospital care is not lost on Kevin. He was hospitalized as a child following a car accident. Kevin’s late sister, Carolyn Warren-Knox also passed away in 2014 following a brain cancer diagnosis. That experience inspired the Warrens to establish “Carolyn’s Comforts,” a children’s cancer emergency assistance fund designed to help families manage the financial challenges of a pediatric cancer diagnosis.
“Carolyn’s heart was with the kids,” Greta Warren said. “Before she passed she was a [school] principal. That was something that she just lived for—the education of children. This was something we knew would touch her heart and make a difference with families.”
Visiting the hospital is always an emotional, grounding experience for the Warrens.
“You realize that a lot of the things we worry about—whether someone dinged your car or you can’t find your toothbrush at home—are insignificant,” Kevin said.
“I think the best thing that we take away from [these visits] is a sense of gratitude. Every day that you’re healthy, or those who you love are healthy, or people who you work with and their kids and their families, you better get on your knees and count your blessings.”