(TAMPA, FL, Sept. 23, 2013) - The Tampa Bay Rays may be approaching the end of their 2013 regular season, but one measure of the team's performance will benefit thousands of families in 10 Central Florida counties for months to come.
At a pre-game ceremony yesterday, The Mosaic Company presented $90,000 to Feeding America Tampa Bay (FATB) as an outgrowth of its Home Runs for Food partnership with the Rays. Under the program, which launched in 2010, Mosaic pledges $500 to the food relief agency for every home run hit by a Rays player during their regular season and spring training games. Today's on-field presentation featured Mosaic and FATB representatives wearing bright orange t-shirts that spelled out $90,000. Orange is the official color of National Hunger Action Month in September.
This year's contribution by Mosaic brings the regular season total generated for FATB to $350,000 for the four years since the Home Runs for Food program started. An additional $41,000 has been raised during Rays spring training for Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.
"This season isn't over yet, so our contribution reflects the fact we're counting on the Rays players to hit many more home runs in the six remaining games," said Gary N. "Bo" Davis, Mosaic senior vice president of phosphate operations. Prior to today's game, the Rays had hit 156 home runs.
"The Home Runs for Food program has become one of our favorite ways to give back to local communities where we operate because it brings Mosaic's mission - helping the world grow the food it needs - so close to home," said Davis. "Together with the Rays and Feeding America Tampa Bay, we're making a profound difference in the lives of the one in six Central Floridians who face a daily struggle to feed their families."
"Our entire organization is very proud of the Mosaic Home Runs for Food program and the vital support it provides Feeding America Tampa Bay," said Rays Senior Vice President Mark Fernandez. "It has become a great tradition."
"Mosaic's generous support has been a game-changer for Feeding America Tampa Bay," said FATB Executive Director Thomas Mantz. "As a result of their Home Runs for Food contributions and other donations throughout the year, Mosaic has provided a total of 1.1 million meals this year alone to children, seniors and families struggling with hunger in our region. We feel very fortunate to benefit from Mosaic's long-standing commitment to fighting hunger."
According to the latest USDA report on food insecurity, one in six Americans is at risk of hunger. The fate of our children is worse, with one in four considered at risk for hunger. In the Tampa Bay area, nearly 700,000 of our neighbors struggle with hunger - including an estimated 250,000 children. FATB distributes more than 2 million meals every month to help meet that need.