The Miami Dolphins teamed up with local community leaders and partners on Monday to launch a multi-million dollar gift commitment to the South Florida community. The Miami Dolphins Food Relief Program, through the Miami Dolphins Foundation, pledges at least 1,000 meals per day, six days a week for the next year throughout the South Florida area.
"We don't think this is a problem that's going away," Dolphins Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel said. "We didn't want it to be a one-time thing. It's a $2 million dollar commitment with a commitment to another million dollars if we can raise $1 million dollars to match it, so a total of $4 million dollars. So when I say 1,000 meals a day, I mean at least 1,000 meals a day."
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez took the podium outside Hard Rock Stadium Monday morning. The site for so many great sporting events is serving as a sanctuary during the difficult times brought on by a global pandemic and the fight for social justice.
"Everybody knows how big of a fan I am of the Dolphins on the field, Gimenez said. "Let me tell you, I'm a bigger fan of the Dolphins and what they do outside of that stadium in the community. These are 1,000 meals that will be served every day for I believe a year to needy families in this area, and there are a lot of needy families in this area because a lot of them have lost their jobs because of COVID-19. It's organizations such as the Dolphins that make me proud to be the mayor of Miami-Dade."
Head Coach Brian Flores issued a profound statement last week in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Monday, the leader of the Dolphins football team spoke about the importance of leadership, and what it means to lead.
"Leadership is about service," Flores said. "If we can all take an opportunity to serve and doing so, we'll bring people together. I think that's ultimately what will create some change. Thank you this morning. I think what we're doing here in helping to feed the families here in South Florida is incredible. I'm honored to be a part of that."
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert punctuated the event with a strong statement about making a difference, and what taking action looks like.
"This is how we solve problems," Gilbert said. "Whether it's hunger and food insecurity created by COVID-19 or if it's civil unrest. It's going to be collaborative. It's going to be the county and the city and the state. It's going to be private actors, it's going to be public actors. It's going to be great churches."
State representative Shervin Jones was also in attendance for the event.
"This partnership that the Dolphins have just come with saying they're going to feed 1,000 people a day, this is what humanity is," Jones said. "It's very resilient. Although we might be offseason, we're still on season for the people. And so that makes sense and that's what's most important. It is my hope that more organizations will look at what the Dolphins are doing and join into collaborative efforts like this to ensure that no one, no family will have to go a day without food in their households. To the Miami Dolphins, thank you. Coach, thank you. Mr. Ross, thank you. To each and every last one of you, thank you for seeing the need and stepping up to the plate."
The Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief Program expands the Miami Dolphins efforts to combat food insecurity in South Florida. In March, the organization gave $500,000 to help meet critical needs for elderly and youth in the community. These funds were used to support school meal programs for Broward County Public Schools and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 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.