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Rays and Rowdies donate 1 million meals to Feeding Tampa Bay

The organization will match the next 1.5 million meals donated as well.

Feeding America, is piloting a text-based program in Tampa, Florida that gets finished meals into the hands of the needy. Photo by Zack Wittman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies are donating up to 2.5 million meals to Feeding Tampa Bay to help those in need during the current COVID-19 crisis. The donation, made from the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund, kicks off a Rays and Rowdies virtual food drive campaign for Feeding Tampa Bay.

The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund will begin the campaign with a donation of 1 million meals and have pledged to match all donations to the virtual food drive webpage, up to an additional 1.5 million meals.

Fans are encouraged to join the campaign by visiting Supporters can purchase essential food items from a shopping list or make a monetary donation.

Rays president Brian Auld:

“Feeding Tampa Bay works every day to make sure that children and families don’t go without food. Now that the need is greater than ever, and that work is harder to do, we are honored to support their mission and encourage others to do the same. While we have to stay isolated from each other to help our community overcome this pandemic, we must also remain committed to our neighbors, especially those in need.”

In addition to helping those they already serve, Feeding Tampa Bay’s current focus is on closing the gaps created by the COVID-19 crisis. Those gaps include children who are out of school and will have no access to school meals or after-school meals, seniors and others who are at greatest risk and cannot reach food, and families who are experiencing higher expenses and lower wages who would not normally have needed food services.

Feeding Tampa Bay President & CEO Thomas Mantz:

“Normally, our community would be in the stands, tuning in and cheering on our Tampa Bay Rays. Today, our beloved home team is turning the tables and cheering on our community to get through what is an uncertain and unprecedented time. We are in the midst of a crisis where more people need our help. Families are facing difficult circumstances due to missed paychecks and, even worse, layoffs; children are out of school and missing crucial meals; and seniors are being forced into weeks of isolation for their survival. The Tampa Bay Rays are standing up with Feeding Tampa Bay, giving us the momentum to provide to-go meals and groceries for our neighbors in our 10-county region. Together, we will get through this and get back to cheering on the team we love.”

On note, to date, the long-term relationship between the Rays and Feeding Tampa Bay has resulted in more than 2 million meals. With a recently renewed three-year commitment between the organizations, the partnership will soon surpass the 5 million meal mark, providing food to those in need in our community.

Notably, per the team’s press release:

“The Rays are dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of hunger.”

The Rays will continue to host Feeding Tampa Bay food collection drives at Tropicana Field, including the annual food drive on Roberto Clemente Day.