TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Bonnie James as the 37th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Chicago Blackhawks. James, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Kingdom Kids of Tampa Bay and Feeding Tampa Bay.
James is a woman who has generously given her heart, time, talents and compassion to many across the Tampa Bay community Her most impressive among many accomplishments, and best represents who she is, are the 100 children that she and her family have personally fostered. She and her family founded Kingdom Kids of Tampa Bay in 2004 and since its opening, has volunteered a lot of her time there. More than 400,000 meals have been served to children and families in the Tampa Bay area in the past six years.
Thousands of lives in the Tampa Bay area have been positively impacted either directly from the food received, or through being inspired from James' tireless service to the local community. Hundreds of children in Tampa elementary schools can focus on their school work instead of being hungry thanks to the meals provided by Kingdom Kids. On Saturday's, James introduces new vegetables through cooking demonstrations to children who would not have been exposed to different produce.
James becomes the 266th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $13.45 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Last summer, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.