Rays Manager Joe Maddon will host Thanksmas for the seventh consecutive year, December 10-12, at Salvation Army Shelters in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater.
As he does for every Thanksmas, Maddon will prepare a traditional Italian/Polish holiday feast for hundreds of needy citizens in the Tampa Bay region. Maddon himself will purchase the food, and with the help of Rays coaches and staff, cook and serve the meals. Over the past six years, Maddon's Thanksmas has served approximately 5,000 individuals in need and provided many of those individuals with clothing and shoes.
In 2011, as a result of numerous donations from generous Rays fans and Joe's fundraising efforts, Thanksmas was also able to present $4,000 each to Salvation Army centers in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton and the Sallie House in St. Petersburg. This year, Maddon and his volunteers will hand out special Thanksmas blankets at each location.
In addition to the Salvation Army shelters, Thanksmas will return to the Sallie House in St. Petersburg on Monday, December 10. Sallie House is a safe haven for children who have been removed from their home because of abuse, neglect or abandonment. To reduce the number of undiagnosed vision problems among children, for the first time ever, the children at Sallie House will benefit from free eye exams courtesy of Transitions Optical and Advantica?. Children will receive complimentary eye exams, and if needed, prescription eyewear fitted with Transitions? Adaptive Lenses. The exams will be conducted aboard an Advantica mobile eyecare clinic.
For the third consecutive year, Maddon will host a fundraiser for Thanksmas at 717 South in Tampa (717 S. Howard St.) from 5 p.m. until closing. The restaurant will prepare Joe's Thanksmas meal, and Rays players and coaches will serve as guest servers.
In June, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission named Maddon the 2012 Tampa Bay area philanthropic player or coach of the year for his work with Thanksmas.
The 2012 Thanksmas schedule is as follows:
- Friday, December 7 - 5:00 p.m. - Fundraiser at 717 South Restaurant, Tampa
- Saturday, December 8 - TBA - Shopping for food, TBA
- Sunday, December 9 - Noon - Food preparation with Joe Maddon at Tropicana Field
- Monday, December 10 - 5:30 p.m. - Sallie House, St. Petersburg
- Tuesday, December 11 - Noon - Clearwater Salvation Army 1625 N. Belcher Road
- Tuesday, December 11 - 4:30 p.m. - Tampa Salvation Army, 1603 N. Florida Ave.
- Wednesday, December 12 - Noon - St. Petersburg Salvation Army, 1400 4th St. S.