Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins Foundation announced an initiative to provide 1,000 meals per day to assist families in South Florida via the Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief . The effort will provide meals at Hard Rock Stadium every week day for families in need, as well as work with local leaders, churches, and community groups to purchase food from local restaurants to assist the effort on Sundays.
The effort was kick started with a $2 million investment from Ross and the Miami Dolphins Foundation. A fundraising effort was also announced to try to raise another $1 million, with Ross and the Foundation matching donations, to ultimately see the program begin with a $4 million investment.
Individuals and businesses that wish to participate in the match program can donate online at dolphins.com/meals, according to the Dolphins’ press release. All gifts are tax-deductible with 100% of the funds raised directly benefiting food relief. All donors over $50 will receive a special Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES™ gift from Ross and Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel in appreciation of their participation in this matching campaign.
“We are committed to combating food insecurity and helping to provide consistent employment as the first step in rebuilding our community, starting in Miami Gardens,” Ross said via a team-released statement. “We are thankful for the strength that our community has shown through this pandemic and it’s our hope that this program will inspire others to give.”
“Unemployment is growing and a lot of people are suffering and need help,” Garfinkel added. “It was important for us to start at home and help the most vulnerable in our community with a long-term commitment; not just a one-time event.”
This announcement expands previous efforts by Ross and the Dolphins to combat hunger and food insecurity problems throughout South Florida.
“In March, the Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief Program donated $500,000 to assist with critical food needs for elderly and youth in the South Florida community,” the announcement of the new program explained. “The donation supported Froward and Miami-Dade Public Schools meal programs, as well as relief efforts led by churches in Miami Gardens and to bolster programs from Feeding South Florida to provide access to food for underserved populations in the area.
“Earlier this month, Ross provided a grant for Miami Dolphins alumni John Offerdahl (Offerdahl’s Off-The-Grill), Kim Bokamper (Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill), Bob Brudzinski (Bru’s Room Sports Grill) and the late, legendary Coach Don Shula to provide free meals to first responders, Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES™ community partners and vulnerable populations who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Over a three-week period, the restaurants delivered 35,440 meals and Pepsi provided 65,644 bottles of Bolt24.
“In addition, Dolphins and Truist as part of its Truist Cares initiative partnered to support local small business and provide meals to the South Florida community as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,700 pre-packaged meals were prepared by local food trucks and delivered to Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES™ community partners over a six-week period.”
The new initiative is also designed to assist Dolphins employees and local restaurant businesses, with jobs and guaranteed sales. The Dolphins will use their guest services and stadium security employees to assist in the weekday efforts, providing work opportunities to offset some of the event cancellations during the COVID-19 response.