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Laser Spine Institute teams up with the Lightning to 'Stick It' to hunger

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Laser Spine Institute, the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, today announced details of its Give & Grub food truck – a new movement aimed at reducing food insecurity in the Tampa Bay area – at a launch event held in Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa. Supported by an integrative partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Laser Spine Institute will donate a meal to a hungry child in the area for every meal sold on the food truck.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the goal of the project is to give back 150,000 meals to local children in need. According to Feeding America Tampa Bay, there are an estimated 700,000 people in the region struggling with hunger – of that number, some 250,000 are children.

“We’ve teamed up with the Lightning to ‘stick it’ to hunger, a serious problem impacting thousands of families in the Tampa Bay area each and every day,” said Dotty Bollinger, President and Chief Operating Officer, Laser Spine Institute. “As a health care organization that stresses the importance of preventive care and improved wellness, investing in a partnership that extends this reach to the local communities we serve is one of the company’s core values.”

A pair of permanent fixtures in the community that have served Tampa Bay’s hungry and hurting families for years, Metropolitan Ministries and Feeding America Tampa Bay, will also be project partners.

As part of the giveback program, Laser Spine Institute will host weekly events with the Give & Grub food truck in neighborhoods across the Tampa Bay area to serve free meals to the community. Once a month, the company will throw free neighborhood events in those communities of need, complete with Lightning player appearances and street hockey action, along with an educational component centered on wellness and nutrition.

“We are pleased that Laser Spine Institute is joining the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Amalie Arena team, especially because our vision and values are so well aligned,” said Jeff Vinik, Chairman and Governor of the Lightning franchise. “The Give & Grub food truck is a great gift to Tampa Bay, and we applaud and support Laser Spine Institute’s leadership and its partners in their efforts to feed those that are hungry in our community.”

The Give & Grub food truck will serve a gourmet menu named after Lightning personnel and inspired by some of their favorite foods, like Cooper’s Candied Burger (Coach Jon Cooper), a Chicken Parmkos Sandwich (Steven Stamkos) and Callahan’s Mac Slam (Ryan Callahan).

Beginning Oct. 9, the truck will travel across the greater Tampa Bay region, and sell its gourmet food menu at Lightning games, community events and major regional office parks during lunch time.  

The co-branded Give & Grub food truck is just one facet of a “Championship Partnership” between Laser Spine Institute and the Lightning, one of five such partnerships offered by the NHL franchise. The truck’s mission and objectives, along with the company’s traditional spine health messaging, will be displayed throughout Amalie Arena. Laser Spine Institute will also brand an entire “quad,” one of four main arena hubs, complete with a video wall and interactive touch screens with social media feeds. 

Today’s news comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that Laser Spine Institute will build a new corporate headquarters and surgery center in Westshore’s Avion Park, while adding 100 jobs, to support its growth in Tampa. Overall, Laser Spine Institute had an economic impact of more than $220 million to the Tampa Bay area in 2013 alone. Because its patients and employees directly contribute to the economy through local spending, including restaurants, hospitality services and attractions, the company has contributed more than 2,200 jobs through its own workforce and supporting industries.

For more information on the Give & Grub food truck, the giveback program, and to see where it’s headed next, visit http://www.giveandgrub.com.

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