28th Annual Thanksgiving Celebration
The Miami HEAT hosted its 28th Annual HEAT Thanksgiving Celebration on Tuesday, November 19th at the Miami Rescue Mission. The entire team, along with HEAT coaches and HEAT front office employees joined presenting sponsor Florida Blue as well as supporting sponsors Goya Foods, PepsiCo, FOX Sports Sun, Hair Club and ONE Sotheby’s International Realty to usher in the Thanksgiving holiday with residents of the Greater Miami area.
Residents in the area enjoyed block-party festivities, but the event was especially meaningful for a select group of approximately 600 underprivileged families, the majority of which were pre-selected by different government and community-based organizations and agencies. Those families received a complete Thanksgiving meal with the entire trimmings from the Miami HEAT, courtesy of Florida Blue. Frozen turkeys were provided by Publix and Florida Blue, while canned goods, side items and beverages were donated by Goya Foods, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty and PepsiCo. Papa John’s was on-site as well, as they sampled their pizza during the block-party.
Levy Cares, the charitable foundation of Levy Restaurants and the catering division of AmericanAirlines Arena, provided 450 hot meals to the residents of the MRM. Florida Blue had their Care Van on-site, which is a mobile health and wellness vehicle, staffed by nurses who conducted health screenings along with private consultations. Hair Club stylists were on-site to provide free haircuts to the residents of the MRM.
“We’re a great basketball organization, but we also care so much about this city. It’s always good to spread joy and love, especially during the holiday season,” said HEAT Player, Jimmy Butler. “It puts a smile on so many faces in this beautiful community.”
The reach of this year’s celebration extended well beyond the Overtown/Wynwood area to help touch those in need in communities such as Little Havana, Little Haiti, Liberty City, South Miami, Kendall, and Lauderdale Lakes. Other beneficiaries of the event included Feeding South Florida, Curley’s House of Style Hope Relief Food Bank, SafeSpace, Salvation Army, Amigos for Kids, Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, Lotus House Shelter and The Advocate Program, which services military veterans and their families.
The Miami HEAT Dancers, HEAT mascot, Burnie, Uptown Dale and the Hoop Troop entertained families with special performances throughout the afternoon. Special band performances from Chase Music 2.0 were held on the City of Miami Showmobile. Guests were treated to games, activities, and inflatables. HEAT staff members, worked concessions and activity stations and engaged with children from the HEAT Academy at Paul Laurence Dunbar K-8 Center, playing with different Hasbro board games during the event.