Rays Thanksmas Day of Volunteering set for July 11

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon and team employees will serve lunch at the Trinity Café in Tampa on Friday, July 11 as part of the Rays Thanksmas Day of Volunteering, a new initiative involving a number of Tampa Bay area shelters.

For the past eight Decembers, Maddon has hosted Thanksmas, a week-long event in which he purchases, prepares and serves a traditional Italian/Polish holiday feast for hundreds of needy citizens at local shelters.

"Our goal is to expand Thanksmas in some fashion every year," said Maddon. "There are an increasing number of people who ask how they can get involved. The Thanksmas Day of Volunteering allows for greater participation and also brings attention to the homeless issue at a time of the year when it is not top of mind."

On July 11, anyone who volunteers for general duty at one of the local shelters participating in the Thanksmas Day of Volunteering will receive a ticket to the Rays - Red Sox home game on July 27, a Thanksmas Day of Volunteering T-shirt and the opportunity to be included in a group photo with the Rays manager.

The shelters participating are the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater and The Salvation Army Chapters of St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton. Volunteers must register with a shelter by July 8. For more information and to sign up, visit raysbaseball.com/thanksmas.

Maddon will participate by serving lunch at the Trinity Café, which serves more than 260 hot, nutritious meals each day to homeless, hungry, and working poor. The meals are prepared by a professional chef and served by volunteer servers. The guests sit at cloth covered tables set with china dishes and silverware. They are asked for nothing in return.

On July 11, the Rays will purchase the food and Chef Alfred Astl will prepare Maddon's Thanksmas feast. Trinity Café is located at 2801 N. Nebraska Avenue in Tampa.