Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata hosted his third annual Haloti Ngata Family Foundation Luau on Monday night at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Ngata was joined by his Ravens teammates including: Marshall Yanda, Steve Smith Sr., Morgan Cox, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson, Jeremy Miles, Jah Reid, Torrey Smith, Chris Canty, Sam Koch, Justin Tucker and Courtney Upshaw in an effort to support teachers in the greater Baltimore area. Ngata’s family foundation donated $39,000 to three local organizations and nine teachers from elementary schools in the Baltimore area. The three organizations where the Maryland School for the Blind, the Green Mount School and Camp C.O.P.S. Each of the organizations were given a check for $10,000. The nine teachers that were there were each given a $1,000 check.
There was both a live and silent auction with numerous memorabilia items from the Baltimore Ravens and the Baltimore Orioles. Fans were able to purchase a tour of the Ravens practice facility, game worn jerseys and various autographed items. The evening was filled with Polynesian food, mixed drinks and music. One of the highlights was the Polynesian dancers that performed along with an amazing fire show in which a fire juggler wowed the crowd.
Haloti Ngata performed two dances as he shared his culture with those in attendance. The luau originated with Edwin Mulitalo, a member of the Super Bowl XXXV Ravens team in 2000. Mulitalo and Ngata played one season together in 2006, Ngata’s rookie year. Ngata was all smiles as he explained what the event is meant to do. “It’s a luau to gather people together and raise some money to help the community. I want to share my culture with people and raise money at the same time.” Ngata continued; “It’s to share what I have been blessed with. Family is number one to me but giving back is up there too as well. Giving back with a lot of love which is on the logo, the word ‘Ofa which means love and that’s also my mother’s name. We use that as one of our mottos, our mission to give back with a lot of love. To appreciate everything that I’ve been given and give back, to do what me and my wife can.”
The opportunity to give people a look into what his culture is about means a lot to Ngata. “It’s huge. Here in the east coast, a lot of people don’t know too many Polynesian people, so they haven’t been exposed to the culture. To come out here and get to do this is amazing.” Ngata continued; “Both of my parents immigrated from Tonga to America so it’s awesome to be able to share some of what they’ve kind of gone through and make them proud at the same time.” The event truly had a great vibe to it. There was a good feeling as soon as guests walked into the door and were greeted with the word “Aloha.” Ngata even took the stage and actually did a good job singing Bob Marley songs. Who would have imagined the big man could sing??
Each guest was given an autographed 8×11 photo of Haloti Ngata along with a necklace made of small seashells and another necklace made of real flowers. Ngata’s strong presence in the Ravens locker room was on full display because of the large amount of his teammates that came to his event. They even got up and took their own shot at doing the Polynesian dances.
The Maryland Food Bank was also in attendance. They collected enough funds to provide over 2000 meals to those in need during the holiday season. Sponsors for the luau include: Access Demolition & Environmental, Bingo World, An Extraordinar Limousine Inc, First Finish, J. Edwards Transportation, Seaside Restaurant & Crab House, PressBoxOnline.com and BBVA Compass Global Wealth. For more information on the Haloti Ngata Family Foundation, please visit their website: www.ngata92.com
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