The Miami Dolphins announced on Wednesday a multi-million dollar commitment through the Miami Dolphins Foundation to provide ongoing relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The team will pledge $2 million to the local community through the Food Relief Program and will provide 1,000 meals each weekday for up to one year. The team will distribute these meals, starting on June 1, at Hard Rock Stadium.
According to team owner Stephen Ross, the team will use a voucher system to provide the meals. Additionally, the Dolphins will spend every Sunday working with area churches, local leadership and community groups to purchase food from local restaurants. These efforts will provide another 1,000 meals each Sunday. The Dolphins said that this will generate jobs and revenue for the local restaurants, and it will also employ team staff members that have not been active due to the coronavirus.
"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 in a 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." CEO Tom Garfinkel said that the team needs to support those in the community who are the "most vulnerable" as unemployment rises.
In addition to the initial $2 million pledge, the Dolphins will strive to raise another $2 million by matching donations. Those interested in making a donation to support the food drive can do so at the team's site, with 100 percent of the gifts going to food relief. The Dolphins also announced that they will provide a special Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES™ gift to any donors over $50.
"I commend the Miami Dolphins Foundation, owner Stephen Ross and CEO Tom Garfinkel for their commitment to the residents of our community," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said. "They have set a high standard for others to follow as we all work together to provide food and jobs for those hit hardest by this pandemic." Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert agreed with this sentiment and said that the Dolphins are "stepping up" to provide support for residents during this time of need.
The Miami Dolphins Food Relief Program previously donated $500,000 to combat food insecurity in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. The goal was to help meet the critical needs of the elderly and youth in the community. Now the Dolphins are expanding the relief efforts and will continue to do so throughout the year.