1/30/2013 2:46 P.M. ET
Centerplate Fundraising Stand Program Returns to Tropicana Field
By / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG, FL-The Tampa Bay Rays and Centerplate have announced that the Fundraising Stand Program will return to Tropicana Field for a 16th consecutive season in 2013. The program is operated by Centerplate, the official hospitality partner to Tropicana Field and the Rays.
The Fundraising Stand Program allows nonprofit group volunteers to play a major role in the success of the hospitality and vending operations at Rays home games and, as a result, earn money to put back into the community. In the program's 15-year history, approximately $11.2 million has been raised for local nonprofits to give back to the community. Last season, 68 nonprofit groups raised more than $1 million for their organizations by volunteering as stand workers at Tropicana Field.
Volunteer groups include charitable organizations, local school groups and others.
The House of Praise and Blessing volunteers at all Tropicana Field events, including 81 Rays home games, the East-West Shrine Game, and the Home Show. "We use the program to raise money to help school kids, homeless and jobless," Pastor Mentha Thomas said. "Between 150 and 200 people work events throughout the year. The workers learn valuable job skills, from working as a cashier to cooking, to become self-sufficient and find jobs."
The Seminole High School Band participates with student and parent volunteers. "We have participated in the program at every Rays game since Tropicana Field first opened, and we couldn't operate without the funds we raise through working at the concession stands," said fundraising coordinator Becky Schafer. The band used the money raised last season to hire additional instructors and fund activities including participation in the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade.
All Star Cheerboosters participate at all home games to support extracurricular sports activities for kids throughout Pinellas County. Cheerboosters also funds a special needs cheerleading team, Florida Top Dog Too, for tournaments around Florida. "Many parents volunteer despite not having children in the program anymore because they understand what the Cheerboosters means to other children," said membership chair Lisa Gross.
Non-profit organizations interested in participating in the program for 2013 should contact Centerplate at (727) 825-3384.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.